TuSimple to Wind Down US Operations, Lay Off 150 Employees

No Buyer Found for American Arm as Focus Shifts Solely to Asia
TuSimple truck
A TuSimple truck at an industry show in 2022. TuSimple expects the wind down of its U.S. operations to be "substantially completed" by the end of 2024, it said in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

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Self-driving truck technology provider TuSimple plans to lay off about 150 employees immediately, or 75% of the company’s U.S. workforce — a wind down of U.S. operations after finding no buyers during a strategic review.

TuSimple is based in San Diego. The employees comprise 19% of TuSimple’s global workforce, the company said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Once this latest round of layoffs is completed, TuSimple is set to have about 700 full-time employees, and the company will focus solely on the Asia-Pacific region.

Over the past 12 months, TuSimple has shrunk considerably. In May, the company cut its global head count by 30%, but all the positions on the chopping block were American. In December 2022, it laid off 25% of its staff, with the “majority” being U.S.-based employees.

Part of the reason is to stanch the startup’s cash burn. TuSimple posted a loss of $113.2 million in the third quarter of 2023, nearly double the $61.4 million loss the company reported in the year-ago period, it said Nov. 9.

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In the first nine months of 2023, TuSimple reported a $333.7 million loss after posting a $220.7 million loss in the same period a year earlier.

TuSimple expects to take a $7 million to $8 million charge against fourth-quarter 2023 earnings on the latest layoffs, largely related to severance payments, and winding down the U.S. operations will be “substantially completed” by the end of 2024, it said in the Dec. 4 filing.

In June, TuSimple said it was exploring strategic alternatives for its U.S. operations, including a sale, and planned to focus on Asia-Pacific activities. TuSimple hired investment bank Perella Weinberg Partners for the review.

The decision was a 180-degree reversal for the company. Previously, TuSimple was considering selling off its Asian operations, but in May, it abandoned that plan and said the company would renew its push to develop Level 4 autonomous trucking in multiple Asian markets.

Autonomous vehicles typically are organized in class levels between 1 and 5. Human interaction is not required in most circumstances for Level 4, but a driver can still manually override systems.

In June, TuSimple said it had begun Level 4 test runs on a major Japanese freight corridor. The Tomei Expressway connects freight moving between Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka — three of the four largest cities in the country.

When TuSimple was founded in 2015, the company set up its U.S. and Asia-Pacific units as stand-alone operations.

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