Steane Klose | Oct 16, 2008

Tesla Motors is reporting that, due to the ecomomic downturn gripping North America and it's own financial difficulties, it is being forced to lay-off workers and shuffle top level CEOs, in order to weather the storm. At this stage there's no word on just how many workers will lose their jobs, but reports indicate that those working on the development of Tesla's coming Model S electric sedan are most at risk.

Tesla will appoint Elon Musk as its new head-honcho, while current Chairman Ze'ev Drori is being relegated to Vice Chairman. Focus will then be shifted to shipping Roadsters and selling its power-train technologies to other companies.

Any activities that do not generate immediate revenue are being put on hold, while Tesla consolidates its position. The partially-constructed Auburn Hills facility will also be boarded up and all future works will be undertaken at Tesla's headquarters in San Jose California, at least until Tesla can generate more revenue to complete the new factory.

Scheduled production of the Model S sedan has now been pushed back to mid 2011 (at best), so eager customers will have a fair wait ahead of them - and that's on the provision Tesla make it through the challenging times ahead of it, unscathed.

With auto manufacturers of all shapes and sizes feeling the squeeze during these troubled times, we're hoping Tesla can manage to get things back on course. With the Roadster already winning hearts, we'd hate to see such a promising manufacturer fall victim to the crumbling US economy.

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