Tesla's chief executive Elon Musk has told staff the firm is undergoing a "thorough reorganisation" after two of its cars were involved in crashes last week.

The tech billionaire's email to employees also comes amid production problems and senior staff departures, with shares falling 2.1% to $297 on Monday.

Mr Musk said the restructuring plans involve "flattening the management structure to improve communication", as well as trimming activities "not vital to the success of our mission".

Tesla confirmed the contents of the email after they were reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Mr Musk is trying to fix production headaches that have slowed the roll-out of its Model 3, a mid-market car seen as key to the company's success.

The chief executive said in his email that Tesla will still hire critical positions "to support the Model 3 production ramp and future product development".

Waymo, Alphabet's self-driving unit, said on Sunday that Matthew Schwall had joined the company from Tesla.

Mr Schwall was the electric carmaker's main technical contact with US safety investigators.

Image: Mr Musk has been criticised for calling an analyst a 'boring bonehead' during an earnings call

Tesla announced last week that Doug Field, senior vice president of engineering, was taking time off to "recharge".

The firm is developing multiple new vehicles and has registered a new car firm in Shanghai in a likely step towards production there.

Mr Musk said during a conference call earlier this month that the company was "going to conduct sort of a reorganisation restructuring".

He added: "The number of sort of third-party contracting companies that we're using has really gotten out of control, so we're going to scrub the barnacles on that front.

"It's pretty crazy.

"You've got barnacles on barnacles. So there's going to be a lot of barnacle removal."

Investors gave Mr Musk some rare criticism after the call in which he referred to one analyst as a "boring bonehead".

He complained to another that the questioning was "dry".

Tesla's shares fell by 5% afterwards.

Police have reported the crash to the national safety board. Pic: South Jordan Police Department
Image: A Tesla crashed into a fire engine in Utah on Friday. Pic: South Jordan Police Department

A Tesla Model S driver was travelling at 60mph (97kph) when the vehicle smashed into a fire engine in Utah on Friday night.

The motorist suffered a broken ankle and was taken to a hospital while a firefighter escaped unharmed.

Witnesses said the Tesla did not brake prior to impact.

US police said it was unknown if the car's autopilot feature was on at the time.

The company said in a statement on Monday: "Tesla has not yet received any data from the car and thus does not know the facts of what occurred, including whether autopilot was engaged."

Tesla has said the autopilot feature in its vehicles only handles some driving tasks.

Two teenagers died and a third was injured after a Tesla they were travelling was involved in a single car collision last Tuesday night.

More from Science & Tech

The US' National Transport Safety Board is investigating after the crash in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on 8 May.

Tesla said its autopilot system is unlikely to have been a factor in the crash, but it marks the agency's fourth active investigation into crashes of the company's electric vehicles.

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