Cruise Cuts Quarter of its Workforce in Layoffs

Cruise has confirmed to Engadget that it is laying off approximately 900 employees, which represents about 24 percent of its workforce. The layoffs will primarily affect commercial operations and corporate functions, with a focus on non-engineering roles such as field workers and corporate staffing. The company is offering strong severance and benefits packages to the departing employees.

The layoffs come in the wake of an incident in San Francisco where a Cruise vehicle pinned and dragged a pedestrian who had already been hit by another car. This led to swift action by regulatory authorities, with the California Department of Motor Vehicles suspending Cruise’s driverless permits over safety concerns. Additionally, there were reports that the company’s autonomous vehicles were unable to effectively detect children, prompting the need for extra precautions.

In an internal email published on the company blog, new President and CTO Mo Elshenawy acknowledged the difficulty of the situation, stating that the layoffs are necessary as Cruise focuses on more deliberate commercialization plans with safety as the top priority. The company is also scaling back its operations to focus on providing exceptional service in one city using the Bolt platform.

The layoffs at Cruise were not unexpected, as GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra had previously expressed plans to cut expenses by hundreds of millions of dollars by 2024. This signaled to many that significant layoffs were on the horizon.

The roughly 900 employees affected by the layoffs at Cruise add to the growing number of tech industry job cuts in 2023.