The hits keep on coming for GM’s Cruise. After high-profile crashes and being forced to temporarily shutter operations in California, the autonomous vehicle unit announced yesterday that it would lay off a quarter of its workforce in a move that sees around 900 people losing their jobs.
Cruise already fired its chief operating officer and eight other executives earlier this week and has talked for a while about reducing its operational costs, so the layoffs aren’t entirely unexpected. A GM spokesperson told Reuters that the company “supports the difficult employment decisions made by Cruise as it reflects their more deliberate path forward, with safety as the north star.”
In terms of that path forward, Cruise’s statement after the layoffs is a good indication that changes are coming.
“This reflects our new future and a more deliberate go-to-market path, meaning less immediate need for field, commercial operations, and corporate staffing.”
Cruise’s vehicles had been running into awkward and inconvenient issues on California’s roads for a while, but the early October incident, in which a Cruise car dragged a pedestrian 20 feet down a city street, was the last straw for state regulators. The group suspended Cruise’s testing permit, leading the company to halt operations across the country and issue a recall for several vehicles.
While the path forward for Cruise looks bumpy, its challenges may pump the brakes on the entire industry. GM’s programs were some of the most high-profile, but Google/Alphabet and others have similar operations that will be under more direct scrutiny going forward.
[Image: Sundry Photography via Shutterstock]
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