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GM Cruise Layoffs: 24% of Staff Cuts Amid Self-Driving Car Safety Question Marks

December 14, 2023 by Joe Panettieri

Cruise layoffs will impact 24% of staff or roughly 900 employees at the General Motors (GM) self-driving car business unit.

Cruise was founded in 2013. GM acquired a majority ownership stake in the company in 2016, and acquired the rest of the business in 2022. Cruise's software and hardware is designed to transform Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles (EVs) into autonomous vehicles.

Former Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt

The resulting robotaxi technology has faced intense public scrutiny since a Cruise accident made headlines in October 2023. The fallout timeline so far includes:

  • October 26, 2023: The company paused all driverless operations "while we take time to examine our processes, systems, and tools and improve how we operate."
  • November 8, 2023: Cruise announced a software update in response to the October pedestrian accident.
  • November 19, 2023: Cruise Co-founder and CEO Kyle Vogt resigned. GM named Mo Elshenawy, Cruise’s executive vice president of engineering, and Craig Glidden, GM's general counsel, as co-presidents.
  • December 13, 2023: Nine executives exited the business. In a statement about the executive departures, a Cruise spokesperson told The Hill: "“As a company, we are committed to full transparency and are focused on rebuilding trust and operating with the highest standards when it comes to safety, integrity, and accountability and believe that new leadership is necessary to achieve these goals,” the spokesperson said in a statement to The Hill.
  • December 14, 2023: Cruise announced 24% staff layoffs.

Proponents say self-driving cars will ultimately save energy and reduce annual auto deaths. But the industry continues to face close scrutiny and some skepticism.

For instance, Tesla on December 13, 2023, recalled nearly all 2 million of its cars on US roads to limit the use of its Autopilot feature following a two-year probe by US safety regulators of roughly 1,000 crashes in which the feature was engaged, CNN reported.

Electric Vehicles: Slowing Market Growth?

Meanwhile, the overall EV market has faced slowing growth in recent months. Amid that backdrop, multiple EV manufacturers, battery providers and charging infrastructure companies have suffered layoffs. The fallout has included:

  • December 2023: Rivian cut about 20 jobs from its EV battery team.
  • November 2023: Our Next Energy (ONE) layoffs involved 25% staff cuts at the electric vehicle (EV) battery maker and energy storage company.
  • November 2023: LG Energy Solution layoffs will impact roughly 170 employees between December 2023 and January 2024, The Holland Sentinel of Michigan reported. The business develops EV (electric vehicle) batteries for U.S. automakers. Key customers include Volvo, Stellantis, Ford and General Motors.
  • November 2023: Tritium DCFC is planning layoffs and an Australia factory closure. The goal: Achieve a path to profitability in 2024, the fast-growing but money-losing electric vehicle (EV) charging technology company said.
  • September 2023: ChargePoint layoffs hit 10% of its staff and reorganized operations amid weaker-than-expected quarterly revenue guidance from the electric vehicle (EV) charging station network company.
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