Tesla Motors (TSLA) shares came under heavy selling pressure again on Friday on news that construction has been delayed at its gigafactory site east of Reno. The local Nevada-based publication attributed the delay to a change in design plans for the giant $5 billion factory that will mass-produce cheaper lithium-ion batteries for Tesla cars.
However, the electric-car maker denied the report, saying the company’s plans are on schedule.
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, a labor union which represents workers in the electrical industry in the U.S. and Canada, had posted on a jobs board that the construction project had been cut back 80%, the paper reported. The need for electricians is subject to change, the union said on its site.
The 10-million-square-foot factory, which is slated to be up and running by 2017, is projected to employ 6,500 people. The plant is eventually expected to produce more than all of the lithium-ion battery production in the world today.
Separately, the Beijing-based China Times reported on its website that Tesla is in the process of cutting 30% of its 600 staff in China, citing an anonymous company insider.
“In addition to the technical support and procurement departments, the marketing, public relations, legal, administrative and sales departments will also be downsized,” the insider told the paper, adding that the process began before the Chinese New Year break last month.
Shares in the Palo Alto, Calif.-based electric-car maker fell more than six points to $193.88 at the close Friday in New York with the name printing a higher than average trading volume of 6.71 million shares, compared to the average volume of 5.26 million. TSLA shares, which are currently valued at $24.38 billion, have declined 11.29% in the last 4 weeks and 15.45% in the past three months. Over the past 5 trading sessions the stock has lost 4.65%. Shares are down 12.83% this year after gaining nearly 50% in 2014.