Cruise is laying off 24 percent of its workforce, the company confirmed to Engadget. GM’s self-driving subsidiary says it will cut approximately 900 employees, as first reported by TechCrunch and CNBC. The news comes over 10 weeks after an incident in San Francisco when a Cruise vehicle pinned and dragged a pedestrian who had initially been hit by another car. Earlier this week, the company parted ways with nine executives, including its chief operating officer.
“We shared the difficult news that we are reducing our workforce, primarily in commercial operations and related corporate functions,” a Cruise spokesperson wrote in an email to Engadget. “These changes reflect our decision to focus on more deliberate commercialization plans with safety as our north star. We are supporting impacted Cruisers with strong severance and benefits packages and are grateful to the departing employees who played important roles in building Cruise and supporting our mission.”
A Cruise spokesperson pointed Engadget toward an internal email written by new President and CTO Mo Elshenawy, also published on the company blog. “We knew this day was coming, but that does not make it any less difficult—especially for those whose jobs are affected,” the message reads. The email says the layoffs primarily target non-engineering roles, including field workers, commercial operations and corporate staffing.
“We are simplifying and focusing our efforts to return with an exceptional service in one city to start with and focusing on the Bolt platform for this first step before we scale,” the email reads. “As a result, we are reducing our employee counts in operations and other areas.”
The news isn’t exactly a shock. Last month, Mary Barra, GM Chair and CEO, expressed plans for Cruise to be more “deliberate.” That included cutting expenses “by hundreds of millions of dollars” in 2024, a clear sign that the writing was already on the wall for considerable layoffs.
The tragic October 2 incident involved a Cruise vehicle pinning a pedestrian after another car’s hit-and-run. There weren’t any passengers in the autonomous vehicle (AV) at the time. “She was just screaming,” a cyclist bystander who tried to help told the SF Chronicle. The aftermath has been swift and decisive, with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) suspending its driverless permits over safety issues. There were even reports the company’s AVs were unable to effectively detect children, a situation that obviously requires extra precautions.
The roughly 900 employees losing their jobs at Cruise join a long list of tech layoffs in 2023.