- Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Tesla is losing two executives responsible for building its cars.
Greg Reichow, Tesla’s vice president of production, and Josh Ensign, the electric car maker’s vice president of manufacturing, will depart, Bloomberg reported.
A Tesla spokesperson provided this comment:
After being at Tesla for over five years and leading its Production team for the past three years, Greg Reichow has announced his intention to take a leave of absence from Tesla so that he can have a well-earned break. To ensure a smooth handoff and provide continuity, Greg will remain at Tesla as long as necessary until his successor is on board. He will work closely with the Tesla leadership team to help with the search process and ultimately to make an effective transition to his successor. Tesla is currently identifying the best candidate to lead Production into the launch of Model 3.
“The Tesla team is an incredibly talented and committed group,” Reichow said in a statement.
“Leading the team that brought Model S and Model X into volume production is something I’ll always be extremely proud of. My belief in Tesla’s ability to successfully deliver great cars and inspire the world to drive electric remains as strong as ever.”
CEO Elon Musk also provided a statement.
“Greg and the team deserve a lot of credit for building an all-new manufacturing organization from the ground up and for making Model S and Model X a reality,” Musk said.
“We’re confident that with the strength of the team, high-quality manufacturing at Tesla will continue.”
Tesla will report first-quarter earnings after the close of markets on Wednesday. Analysts are expecting a loss, and Wall Street may want to get some insight from CEO Elon Musk and his team about whether the car maker can meet its 2016 production and delivery targets – 80-90,000 vehicles – and about how the company plans to fulfill around 400,000 pre-orders, at $1,000 apiece, for it’s new Model 3 mass-market vehicle.
- Matthew DeBord
Tesla has managed to deliver on the low-end of its guidance for the past two years. But as the automaker has added vehicles to its lineup – including the complicated Model X SUV – questions have arisen about the company’s ability to achieve its goal of selling 500,000 cars annually by 2020.
Tesla watchers may infer that Reichow’s and Ensign’s departures meant that heads are rolling at the car maker over production delays and problems; much of early Model X production was voluntarily recalled this year when a seat malfunction was discovered, and the SUV had already endured delays related to the design of it falcon-wing doors and second-row seats.
However, both executives have been with the company for some time, and high-level Tesla exits aren’t uncommon. Spokesman Ricardo Reyes left earlier this year, and longtime CFO Deepak Ahuja retired last year.
But Bloomberg’s Tom Randall noted that a total of five Tesla’s VPs have departed in 2016, as the automaker’s production challenges have mounted, leading Musk to admit that the Model X’s design was too intricate and could had been simplified were it not for what he called Tesla’s “hubris.”
Tesla shares were trading lower on Wednesday, down 4% to $223.