Tesla guts newly formed marketing team despite investors demanding greater focus on ads as EV sales slow

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Tesla Inc. slashed a newly formed marketing team as part of companywide layoffs, reversing course from a traditional advertising push that Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk greenlighted less than a year ago.

The company’s “growth content” team in the US, a group of about 40 employees run by senior manager Alex Ingram and reporting to Jorge Milburn, was eliminated in the ongoing job cuts, according to people familiar with the matter. Ingram and Milburn were part of the reduction, the people said. The company still has a smaller marketing group in Europe, one person said.

There were also significant layoffs in Tesla’s design studio and staff located in Hawthorne, California, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information.

Tesla and Musk didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The cuts signal a pullback from Tesla’s nascent advertising initiative. The automaker had long eschewed television, radio, print or online ads — and had built a formidable brand largely through word-of-mouth — before Musk said last year that Tesla would “try a little advertising and see how it goes.” Ingram started building the growth team about four months ago.

Investors have increasingly called on Musk to focus more on marketing as global EV sales growth has slowed and more competitors have entered the market. Tesla’s embrace of advertising has also broadly coincided with Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, which he’s renamed X. The social-media platform has sought to stem a sharp decline in ad revenue under the new owner, driven by major brands’ unease over content moderation and Musk’s own sometimes-controversial posts.

The upheaval in Tesla’s growth team underscores the broad reach of the company’s largest-ever job cuts, which Musk said last week would affect more than 10% of the global workforce. Bloomberg has reported that the figure could be closer to 20% in some divisions, potentially pushing the total number of layoffs beyond 20,000.

Tesla’s shares fell 4.6% at 11:13 a.m. in New York. The stock tumbled 41% this year through April 19, the second-worst decline in the S&P 500 Index.

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