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Tesla Motors, the company behind the delayed high-performance electric car the Roadster, is laying off staff.

Tesla said the job cuts were about performance not reducing the overall headcount. Darryl Siry, Tesla's VP of sales and marketing told San Jose Mercury News: "If you don't get the job done, there are consequences. We haven't had that before."

The blog of its ex-CEO Martin Eberhard revealed that 26 people, about ten per cent of total staff, are losing their jobs.

An anonymous worker at Tesla called the job cull "a stealth bloodbath".

The electric sports car was due for arrival in early 2007. Part of the delay is due to problems with the transmission - Tesla now says the car will ship with an "interim" transmission.

The company appointed a new CEO, Ze'ev Drori, in December. The firm has taken deposits for the vehicles which will be built at Lotus's factory in Hethel, Norwich.

Tesla claims it will produce 50 cars during the first quarter of 2008 and some 600 in the remainder of the year.

More on Eberhard's blog here. ®

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