Following disappointing deliveries in the first quarter, Tesla announced the cut of another swathe of sales staff across the USA as it continues to pare personnel and shift its retail process online.

Several dozen sales team members were relieved from duty on Thursday, sources familiar with the matter said. Tesla confirmed the lay-offs but declined to comment on the specifics including the number of personnel affected.

Tesla cites the latest lay-offs to be in line with the retail retrenchment that was announced earlier in February. In addition to this, CEO Elon Musk also stated that the decision to shift towards online sales was to cut costs as the company ramps up production for the Standard Range Model 3 sedans and prepares to launch new models including the Model Y crossover next year.

CEO Elon Musk also stated that the decision to shift towards online sales was to cut costs as the company prepares to launch new models including the Model Y crossover next year.

Reports suggest that the job cuts affected teams internally known as “inside sales”, were responsible for contacting potential customers and inviting them to test drive vehicles. After Tesla’s retail revamp the same team was reassigned to tasks such as taking inbound calls, helping with deliveries and even washing and detailing vehicles, Automotive News reported.

The company stated that it still has operations at the three locations, including employees who can field customer questions and support car owners. Speaking to Automotive News on of the impacted employee at Tesla stated that 20 inside sales advisers and two managers were informed around noon Thursday that their positions were being eliminated. Another employee who worked in Brooklyn stated that the information was conveyed through a conference call, effective immediately.

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Tesla reported a fall of 31 per cent in its first-quarter deliveries citing struggles with its first shipments of the Model 3 to Europe and China.

The dismissals are just the tip of the iceberg of Tesla’s zigzag approach to its retailing strategy that has rattled investors. Nearly 10 days after announcing the withdrawal from physical stores, the company pulled a reversal stating more locations would stay open than planned while some will continue to be evaluated.

Musk wrote to employees in February that Tesla would evaluate all areas of its sales and marketing organization in the following weeks, with some being cut and other employees transitioning to different parts of the company.