Self-driving truck company TuSimple lays off hundreds of days before Christmas: report
Global trucking company TuSimple Holdings Inc. It will lay off at least 700 employees next week, just before the Christmas holidays.
The San Diego-based tech company, which operates in Arizona, Texas and China, has about 1,430 full-time employees. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that TuSimple executives are looking to cut staff size by nearly half as the company ramps up efforts to build and test autonomous truck driving systems.
The layoffs will come at a turbulent time for the company, which underwent a change of leadership in October after reports revealed that the FBI, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) were each investigating TuSimple’s ties to the Chinese startup. Hydron Inc.
The job cuts are expected to be announced on Tuesday. The magazine reported that TuSimple will “significantly” scale back its efforts to build self-driving systems and test self-driving trucks on public roads in Arizona and Texas. “As part of the downsizing, much of TuSimple’s operations in Tucson, Ariz., where it conducts much of its test drives, will be phased out, and the team that works on the self-driving software algorithms will be significantly reduced,” the report said.
Federal Safety Agency Autonomous Vehicle Incident Investigation Agency in San Francisco
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TuSimple will shift focus to improving a software product that matches self-driving trucks with shippers who have freight to haul, said people familiar with the company’s plans, in order to offer freight transportation at a lower cost than human-driven trucks.
FOX Business has reached out to TuSimple for comment but has not received a response.
Employees were preparing to lay off workers. The magazine reported that TuSimple CEO Cheng Lu, who previously led the company back in November, sent an email to employees earlier this month announcing that management was reviewing “our employee expenses, which are the biggest part of depleting our cash.”
Lu told the newspaper that he intends to “correct the ship’s course, and this includes ensuring the company’s capital efficiency.”
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TuSimple has been cutting costs and scaling back its ambitions as it reels from a series of crises this year, including the crash of one of its self-driving trucks in April, the loss of key business partnerships, a change of two chief executives, falling share prices and concurrent government investigations.
The company is losing money. TuSimple reported revenue of $4.9 million and losses of $220.5 million in the first half of 2022, according to the report. Its partnerships with other companies, including Navistar International Corp., have also collapsed. and McLane Company Inc. amid disagreements.
“McLane is aware of recent leadership, operating and course changes at TuSimple and is in touch with their team. We are in the process of evaluating the working relationship with TuSimple and will determine the next course of action in due course,” McLane President and Administrative Officer Larry Parsons told the newspaper.
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In October, TuSimple fired its CEO and co-founder Xiaodi Hou, after an internal board investigation found that Hou had shared confidential information with Hydron, a Chinese trucking startup operating mostly in China and funded by Chinese investors. After he was overthrown, Hu set TuSimple co-founder and Hydron founder Mo Chen to hit back at the board of directors, firing them. The newspaper reported that they brought Lu back together to run the company.
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The company is now working to comply with US regulators.
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