Tesla reaches production milestone, now ‘a real vehicle company’


Shares of Tesla Inc. reversed course to trade down 4 per cent on Monday after Wall Street analysts questioned the electric auto maker's ability to maintain an increase in production that helped it meet a long-elusive target of making 5,000 Model 3 vehicles per week.

Tesla, which Chief Executive Elon Musk hailed on Sunday as having become a "real vehicle company", said it now expects to boost production to 6,000 Model 3s per week by late August, signaling confidence about resolving technical and assembly issues that have plagued the company for months.

Musk said the company hit its target of 5,000 Model 3s in a week, according to an email sent to employees on Sunday afternoon and seen by Reuters.

"We did it! We either found a way or, by will and inventiveness, created entirely new solutions that were thought impossible". Musk also said the company had cranked out a combined 2,000 of Model S sedans and Model X sport-utility vehicles, bringing overall production to a record 7,000 for the week.

Electric auto maker Tesla Inc. has delivered on its CEO's promise to build a lower-priced vehicle at a rate of 5,000 per week by the end of June. Speaking of, the regular line is expected to hit a production rate of 5,000 Model 3s per week soon but isn't quite there yet.

Doug Field, Tesla's head of engineering, won't return to the company after a taking a leave of absence, The Wall Street Journal reports.

"We did it! What an incredible job by an fantastic team", Musk wrote to employees in an email.

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Tesla reported Monday that it made 28,578 Model 3s in the second quarter more than three times as more than it did in the previous quarter. "7000 cars, circa 4 hours (heart) Ford Team (heart)" Armstrong wrote on his verified Twitter account, parodying a similar tweet from Musk about Tesla's weekly output. Over the past year, Tesla has struggled to ramp up the production of the compact electric sedan, with CEO Elon Musk dubbing the challenge as "production hell". But it appears that Tesla's recent moves, which included building a new Model 3 assembly line under a giant tent, had paid off.

Last summer, Musk set a production goal of 20,000 Model 3's per week for the end of 2017 - and 500,000 for all of 2018.

You might remember RBC Capital's Joseph Spak as the analyst who asked Elon Musk too many "dry questions" during Tesla's (NASDAQ:TSLA) first-quarter earnings call, or at least as Musk described it. Once the cars were being produced in volume, Tesla briefly enjoyed profits-until Tesla began production on the next model and the cycle of losses started over again. Reservation holders waiting for the Model 3 welcomed the news like a Christmas basket. "Model 3 Dual Motor All Wheel Drive and Model 3 Dual Motor All Wheel Drive Performance cars will also be available in our stores shortly".

With the 5,000/week mark attained, Tesla is now looking to increase its production capacity for the Model 3 even further.

Doug Field, Tesla's second most senior engineer at Tesla after CTO JB Straubel, has been on leave from the automaker since May, but we now learn that he will not be returning at Tesla.

Field came to Tesla in 2013 as a vice president of vehicle programs after a five-year stint in hardware engineering at Apple.