By on March 12, 2018

tesla-model-3

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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28 Comments on “Tesla Stalled Model 3 Production Last Month to Get Ducks in a Row...”


  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Musk is lulling his opposition into complacency, then he will pounce and crank out 3,500 Model 3s per week.

  • avatar
    CombiCoupe99

    I love this story! By the time the Model 3 starts ramping up production, it should be hopelessly out of date and will be SO 2016!

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      @CombiCoupe99:

      There might be more truth in what you are saying than you even know. New vastly improved NMC 811 cells are beginning production by some manufacturers like South Korea’s SK Innovations. There are rumors that the Semi and the new Roadster are using them. The other new piece of technology is the 350kW+ charging technology that Porsche will be the first to introduce. Tesla will counter that with the Gigachargers. So, by the time they ramp up, those two technologies will be out there. I wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s “hopelessly” out of date since it should be easy to perform those upgrades on the car.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    Hopefully the stand-down enabled them to get the quality where it should be. When Green Car Reports proclaims that the build quality of the T3 to be “appalling”, you’ve lost the one outlet that should be 100% behind you.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    The above headline courtesy of the Department of Redundancy Department.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    “However, the temporary shutdown occurred between February 20th and the 24th — a bit too early for the equipment to have made it stateside.”

    Maybe they ordered it through Amazon Prime.

    /

  • avatar
    redapple

    2500 cars a week x 50 weeks = 125,000 units/year.
    Extremely modest amount. That was a massive GM plant and a 1 line assy shop should do an easy 45-50 jobs /hour.

    Are all models made on that 1 line? S and X and 3?
    3 cars that are so different one 1 line might max out at 150,000 Total.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Only scummy Elon would spin halting production as a good thing.

    This is extremely telling. Tesla’s failures are becoming very hard to ignore aren’t they?

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Yep, it’s a good thing this doesn’t happen elsewhere:

      https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2017/07/americans-turning-away-subcompacts-droves-chevrolet-sonics-orion-township-assembly-plant-shutdown-lengthened/

      https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2017/06/temporary-shutdowns-insufficient-general-motors-eliminates-shift-chevrolet-malibus-fairfax-assembly-plant-kansas-city/

      https://www.freep.com/story/money/cars/ford/2017/09/19/ford-plans-temporary-shutdowns/682152001/

      http://www.motortrend.com/news/ford-to-temporarily-shut-down-five-north-american-plants/

      https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2017/06/fiat-chrysler-shuts-pacifica-hybrid-production-amid-safety-recall-report/

      https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2017/09/cami-strike/

      http://www.14news.com/story/35225056/equipment-issue-causes-some-production-shut-down-at-toyota

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Those German parts must be coming by tramp steamer.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    A bit of local Tesla news – my Model S owning buddy recently took delivery of the 5037th Model 3 for his partner. Given what a reliability disaster his Model S has been, my first question was of course “so what has fallen off it”. His reply was “many tow trucks the first couple weeks, but it seems better now”. Didn’t have a chance to inquire further. Got to look it over after brunch Sunday, build quality is best described as “approximate”, and I still think the giant iPad dash is utterly stupid. Luckily they both mostly work from home, and have a Fiat 500X and a Miata besides the electric wondercars.

    They also have a new Model S on the way in a couple weeks, a P75D Performance. Decided to get the tax rebate while they still could.

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    Prediction-

    “SCE” will cancel his Model 3 reservation.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Thinkin’ about it, more than ever.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        @SCE: You know, I think the Mercedes EQ is going to be in the same price range as the 3. The trade-off might be the lack of a solid charging network. Hopefully, we’ll see a good non-Tesla charging network emerge, but it’s not there yet. I think the only ones that can do that will be someone like Shell bringing Shell Recharge to the US. Hopefully with those monster 500kW units from ChargePoint.

        https://www.shell.co.uk/motorist/welcome-to-shell-recharge.html

        For me, the charging network is less of an issue since I think 2008 was the last time I traveled more than 150 miles in a car. I fly if its further than that. I’m good at achieving NEDC ranges so I should be able to push a Mission E to 310 miles. With that kind of range, I’m not even sure the battery would ever drop below 60% charge even if I avoid public charging altogether.

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    You know “SCE”-

    Have you seen the prices of used Chevrolet Volts-very reasonable.

    Every manufacturer is coming on with new “EV only” offerings soon though.

    Manufacturers that have been building cars a long time….

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Yes. Unfortunately, I don’t fit in a Volt very well, and I like a usable back seat.

      I’ve mentioned here before that the car I really want is the Kia Niro EV, which is supposedly a late 2018 offering. The regular hybrid Niro is quite nice to drive, and has a very roomy interior.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    Tesla is waiting on equipment from that German company they bought to help them make better battery packs. So it’s an internal company thing – the German company is part of Tesla, and subject to the same magnificent management provided by Saint Elon.

    Meanwhile, the fit and finish errors noted by Green Car Reports are the product of shoddy assembly methods at Fremont.

    That latter assembly line equipment was provided by a Michigan company, and from what I’ve read, drove them crazy as Tesla continually asked for design changes after it was already being fabricated. One has to wonder, is it actually finished? Or still subject to continual change.

    We were informed by Musk some time ago that traditional car companies had no clue when it came to assembly and so he’d revolutionize that too. He apparently envisioned robot arms moving so fast the eye couldn’t follow.

    Hmm. Draw your own conclusions. If you believe in the tooth fairy, and couldn’t care less about assembly quality that would cause the Chrysler of 1962 to blush with shame, then it’s time to buy an excellent example of modern puffball PR and get a Model 3 to gloat over.

    Meanwhile, the whole thing strikes me as amateur hour. Does Musk let his engineers just get on with it, or continually second guess then? I mean someone must be responsible for these monumental cockups. You have to work at being this awful.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    I’m holding out for a cheap sign and drive lease on a Bolt.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    I defend Tesla against what I think are gratuitous attacks. However I was stopped behind an X in traffic the other day. From my position I was lined up with the seams between the rear window, d pillar and the rear quarter panels. I was amazed at how the seams wandered around and the lumpy contours of the sheet metal. Looked like a bad autobody repair job.

  • avatar
    tsoden

    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…

  • avatar
    St.George

    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.

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