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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