Tesla Stalled Model 3 Production Last Month to Get Ducks in a Row

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
tesla stalled model 3 production last month to get ducks in a row

Tesla temporarily stopped production of the Model 3. Considering everyone keeps wondering when the company will finally reach its first-quarter production target of 2,500 units per week, that’s big news. The Tesla faithful will, no doubt, consider the decision another incredibly shrewd move from the geniuses working within the company, while the opposition will claim it’s further proof that the firm isn’t capable of building cars at the scale it has promised.

Sticking with the facts, we knew Tesla had Gigafactory tooling waiting to be shipped from Germany at the start of February. However, the temporary shutdown occurred between February 20th and the 24th — a bit too early for the equipment to have made it stateside. The suspended production also took place at the main factory in Fremont, California, and not the Nevada-based Gigafactory. Model 3 vehicle registrations also dropped significantly in the days following the shutdown.

Officially, Tesla said it used the downtime to improve automation and address production bottlenecks that have plagued the Model 3 since its launch. “Our Model 3 production plan includes periods of planned downtime in both Fremont and Gigafactory 1,” a Tesla spokesman explained. “These periods are used to improve automation and systematically address bottlenecks in order to increase production rates. This is not unusual and is in fact common in production ramps like this.”

Bloomberg claimed production rebounded in early March, however, its Model 3 tracking website suggests a very modest improvement since the temporary shutdown. That doesn’t necessarily mean Tesla didn’t put things in order, though. It’s likely too soon to take away anything other than the company saw a decrease in weekly volume last month.

So far as we know, Elon Musk’s earlier assertion that production of the Model 3 would hit 2,500 weekly units by the end of March still stands. However, everyone’s best estimate seems to place Tesla’s most productive week at around 1,000 vehicles. We’re wondering if those production bottlenecks stem from a Gigafactory that’s still missing vital equipment and, if so, how much longer it will be until the parts from Germany arrive.

[Image: Tesla Motors]

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  • Tsoden Tsoden on Mar 13, 2018

    As slow as the Model 3 is to get into new owner hands, at least the car is actually being built... a feat that cannot be shared with ELIO....oy...

  • St.George St.George on Mar 13, 2018

    I wish them all the best. Can't be easy building up a car company (using new technology also) from scratch. At the end of the day, they're shaking things up, employing people (never a bad thing!) and have built up a brand that actually euro-snobs find appealing. I don't get all the hate to be honest. I would be happy cruising around in a Model S, would fulfill 99% of my motoring needs.

  • SCE to AUX Toyota the follower, as usual. It will be 5 years before such a vehicle is available.I can't think of anything innovative from them since the Gen 1 Prius. Even their mythical solid state battery remains vaporware.They look like pre-2009 General Motors. They could fall hard.
  • Chris P Bacon I've always liked the looks of the Clubman, especially the original model. But like a few others here, I've had the Countryman as a rental, and for the price point, I couldn't see spending my own money on one. Maybe with a stick it would be a little more fun, but that 3 cylinder engine just couldn't provide the kick I expected.
  • EBFlex Recall number 13 for the 2020 Explorer and the 2020 MKExplorer.
  • CEastwood Every time something like this is mentioned it almost never happens because the auto maker is afraid of it taking sales away from an existing model - the Tacoma in this instance . It's why VW never brought the Scirrocco and Polo stateside fearful of losing Golf sales .
  • Bca65698966 V6 Accord owner here. The VTEC crossover is definitely a thing, especially after I got a performance tune for the car. The loss of VTEC will probably result in a slower vehicle overall for one reason: power under the curve. While the peak horsepower may remain the same, the amount of horsepower and torque up to that peak may be less overall. The beauty of variable cam lift is not only the ability to gain more power at upper rpm’s on the “big cam”, but the ability to gain torque down low on the “small cam”. Low rpm torque gets the vehicle moving and then big horsepower at upper rpm’s gains speed. Having only one cam profile is now introducing a compromise versus the VTEC setup. I guess it’s possible that with direct injection they are able to keep the low rpm torque there (I’ve read that DI helps with low rpm torque) but I’m skeptical it will match a well tuned variable lift setup.