*By Conor White and Amanda Weston* Tesla CEO Elon Musk's email to employees on Friday announcing that the electric car maker will be slashing its workforce by 7 percent is just the latest in a long line of troubles for the embattled company ー troubles that brand and marketing expert Ian Wishingrad don't see ending any time soon. "This is the beginning of a down period for them," Wishingrad, founder and creative director of the firm BigEyedWish, explained in an interview Friday on Cheddar, "Especially with oil prices getting lower." Adding to Tesla's ($TSLA) problems is the fact that other automakers, including Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW are finally introducing their own electric vehicles in 2019. Dan Shaffer, president of Shaffer Asset Management, added the layoffs signal a greater trend in the industry. "/[Musk is]/ a pioneer in the industry of coming out with these electric cars," Shaffer told Cheddar Friday. "There's no question about it, and his thoughts and his patterns and his cars are fantastic, the way they look and operate. Now that other competitors are realizing that they've lost sales to him, so they're going to do the electric cars." Other auto giants, including Ford ($F) and General Motors ($GM), have also [made layoffs](https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-18/tesla-channels-auto-incumbents-ford-gm-with-big-job-cuts?srnd=premium). "I think this is kind of smart that he's doing this and heading it off early instead of later," Shaffer said. "But it does show that car sales are down, or expected to be down, and that the other companies also laying off workers are showing that the industry is having a difficult time in the current cycle." Wishingrad says Elon Musk needs to be overly cautious because neither he nor the company have a lot of room for error. "He's going to be walking a very, very thin, tightrope," Wishingrad said. "Until they can kind of weather the storm of extreme competition in the space." In his email, Musk said the cuts were necessary due to the company's need to produce a cheaper Model 3, as well as the elimination of the government's electric vehicle tax credit. "The need for a lower priced variants of Model 3 becomes even greater on July 1, when the US tax credit again drops in half, making our car $1,875 more expensive, and again at the end of the year when it goes away entirely," Musk wrote in the letter. "Sorry for all these numbers, but I want to make sure that you know all the facts and figures and understand that the road ahead is very difficult." Wishingrad believes Musk included those details for a strategic reason. "He \[Elon Musk\] understands that a huge component of the stock exchange is emotion and storytelling," Wishingrad noted. "So he's now trying to gin up some empathy for himself and the stock." Despite the issues directly in front of Tesla, Wishingrad still thinks the company will come out on top, similarly to another tech giant. "I think it's going to play very similar to the Apple story from the 80s," he said, "They come out with a big hit, people like them, then everyone catches up, Windows comes and eats their lunch, they go down for a while, and then they have a historic comeback." That's a story Elon Musk would surely be happy to write. For full interview [click here](https://cheddar.com/videos/tesla-layoffs-signal-greater-auto-industry-trend-asset-manager-says).

More In Business
Load More