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Tesla loses its head of production at critical time, source says

Tesla’s head of production in charge of all vehicle manufacturing at Fremont factory, Peter Hochholdinger, is not at the automaker anymore, according to a source familiar with the matter.

It was a big deal when Tesla hired Hochholdinger.

He was coming from Audi where he was in charge of the production the Audi A4, A5 and Q5 resulting in him overseeing more than 400,000 cars built annually.

When Tesla hired him in 2016, Hochholdinger’s experience boosted confidence in Tesla bringing Model 3 to production in high volume and the company sent out a press release to publicize the new hire.

On his LinkedIn profile, he describes his position at Tesla:

“Peter is Tesla’s Vice President of Production and responsible for the car plant and seat factory in Fremont, CA, the castings site in Lathrop, CA and the Tilburg factory in The Netherlands.”

Now we learn that Hochholdinger is not at Tesla anymore.

A source familiar with the matter tipped Electrek about the executive not being at the automaker anymore and we confirmed with another source that Hochholdinger is not in Tesla’s directory any longer.

We contacted Tesla about Hochholdinger leaving and company representatives didn’t respond to several requests for comment.

Hochholdinger also didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Last year, we reported on Tesla hiring Bert Bruggeman, an experienced manufacturing executive from the semiconductor industry, as their new ‘Vice-President of Production at Fremont plant’, but it hasn’t been clear what his role is in relation to Hochholdinger since Tesla confirmed that he was still in charge of production at the time.

The head of production’s departure comes at a critical for Tesla’s manufacturing team as the automaker is trying to massively increase its production capacity and figure out a way to fit Model Y production at its very crowded Fremont factory.

Electrek’s Take

Again, Tesla hiring Hochholdinger was a big deal at the time.

He had more experience than most people at Tesla when it comes to large-scale car manufacturing. Only Gilbert Passin, who was leading manufacturing at Tesla since the acquisition in the Fremont factory, might have had more experience in car manufacturing on Tesla’s executive team.

Passin left Tesla for Wrightspeed last year.

While I often defend Tesla on their highly publicized executive departures, I think it’s fair to say that they had some significant talent exodus over the last year or so and now with Passin and Hochholdinger, it’s especially true for the production executive team.

Lately, we have seen Tesla promote more from within the company. Maybe we are going to see that for the production leadership.

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