Tesla fires hundreds of workers as part of annual reviews

Last Updated Oct 16, 2017 10:08 AM EDT

Tesla Motors fired hundreds of workers even as it's trying to ramp up production on its new Model 3 sedan.

Tesla (TSLA) fired the workers after completing its annual performance reviews. It didn't disclose how many of its 33,000 workers were jettisoned. The San Jose Mercury News interviewed multiple former and current Tesla employees who estimated 400 to 700 workers lost their jobs.

The housecleaning swept out workers in administrative and sales jobs, in addition to Tesla's manufacturing operations.

An unspecified number of workers received bonuses and promotions following their reviews, according to the company.

"As with any company, especially one of over 33,000 employees, performance reviews also occasionally result in employee departures," a spokesman told The Mercury News. "Tesla is continuing to grow and hire new employees around the world."

Among the fired workers were pro-union employees, with some of them believing they were targeted, according to the publication. Tesla said union activities didn't play a role in the firings. 

Tesla is under pressure to deliver its Model 3 sedan to a waiting list of more than 450,000 customers. The company so far has been lagging its own production targets after making just 260 of the vehicles in its last quarter.

Including other models, Tesla expects to make about 100,000 cars this year. CEO Elon Musk is aiming to increase production by five-fold next year, a goal that probably will have to be met to support Tesla's market value of $59 billion — more than Ford Motor Co.

Unlike Ford, Tesla still hasn't posted an annual profit yet.

Despite the mass firings, Tesla is still looking to hire hundreds more workers.