By on July 2, 2018

The numbers are out for Tesla’s second-quarter production and deliveries. If you didn’t spend the weekend lying on a block of ice with a fan taped to your chest, you probably heard the faint sound of Tesla aficionados celebrating the automaker’s 5,000-Model 3s-per-week production goal, which was met with few vehicles to spare.

CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter on Sunday to announce the production of 7,000 vehicles during the last seven days of June, some 5,000 of them being Model 3 sedans. Steven Armstrong, CEO of Ford of Europe, shot back a reply stating his company builds that much in about four hours. (There seems to be a lot of bad blood between Ford and Tesla.)

So, how do the numbers break down for the entire second quarter? Read on.

According to Tesla, production totalled 53,339 vehicles in Q2 2018, of which 28,578 were Model 3s. Total production volume tops Q1 volume by 55 percent, and the number of Model 3s produced last quarter actually exceeds the total number of Model 3s delivered to date (28,386).

If this sounds like Tesla pulled out all the stops on Model 3 production very recently, you’d be right. Total Model 3 production in the last seven days of June amounted to 5,031 vehicles. A narrow victory for the Tesla team, but a victory nonetheless. Musk credits the new tent-bound production line outside its Fremont assembly plant (officially, “GA4”) for 20 percent of last week’s Model 3 production.

“Our Model 3 weekly production rate also more than doubled during the quarter, and we did so without compromising quality,” the automaker said in a blog post. “We expect that [the GA3 indoor line] alone can reach a production rate of 5,000 Model 3s per week soon, but GA4 helped to get us there faster and will also help to exceed that rate.”

If you’re curious, Model S and X production did not cease during this final week. Tesla reports 1,913 Model S and X builds during that time frame. Still, the number of undelivered Model 3s still in transit — 11,166 — points to an incredible ramp-up at the end of June.

The production figures for the weeks preceding that period are unknown. Averaging out Q2’s total Model 3 production gives us a figure of roughly 2,200 vehicles per week.

So, while Tesla fans cheer the production news, skepticism remains, and not just among the much-loathed “shorts.” Tesla needs to prove it can sustain this level of activity over the long term, and in a sustainable manner that doesn’t overtax man and machine. Only then will skeptics and certain investors back off from their negative impressions.

Of course, Tesla claims this exactly what it plans to do. The company said it “expects to increase production to 6,000 Model 3s per week by late next month,” adding that it’s still shooting for “positive GAAP net income and cash flow in Q3 and Q4, despite negative pressures from a weaker USD and likely higher tariffs for vehicles imported into China as well as components procured from China.”

[Image: Elon Musk/Twitter]

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37 Comments on “One Hell of a Ramp: Tesla Reports 28,578 Second-quarter Model 3 Builds, 18,440 Deliveries...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    This means this model is either currently outselling, or will soon outsell, the Mercedes C-Class and BMW 3-series.

    Pretty remarkable.

    The test, of course, is how well these cars are built. We shall see pretty soon.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Yea, it’s one thing to build a lot. It’s another thing to build a lot well.

      • 0 avatar
        Lockstops

        Oh come on, even if Model 3’s would be reliable they’re already a shortcut-design cheap-o model with absolutely no variety. Nothing even near 3-series and C-Class complexity, quality, quantity of details and features. Nowhere near the customisation level, breadth of model lineup and bodystyles.

        Hell, Mercedes put in actual metal window etc. switches which is pretty unheard of, and Model 3 was not even near but in fact at the complete other end of the spectrum. They’re not even at the level of Fiestas since even in Fiestas they could afford buttons where it makes sense. Tesla can’t afford buttons. And that’s just one visible indication among many of which a lot you don’t see of just how bargain basement that car is. Smoke and mirrors.

        Then add the fact that now BMW has just come out with the new X1, X2, X3, X4, and about to introduce the new 3-series (which itself is composed of several different models, more of a range INSIDE the 3-series lineup than Tesla as a whole), 4-series (again with several models), 1-series and 2-series (coupé, convertible and apparently a new RWD sedan version). They’ve already spent the money for the development of those models, they’ve spent the money for actual big-boy real life working, professional production lines instead of tents with what seems to be an actual circus going on inside it. All that’s just now going to come out of the pipeline, a proper tried and true pipeline. The stuff will be brand new. Newest tech. So at least one generation ahead of Tesla, actually more since Tesla does not design its cars up to the standards of established car manufacturers.

        Then there’s the fact that looking at the sales numbers worldwide, not just California or the USA the situation is…

        So no, there’s no place for even considering comparisons with cars like the BMW 3-series (which actually is split into many more models than just the 3-series and fulfils the needs of multiple times the customer base than the one single Model 3 with hardly any options or individualisation possibilities).

    • 0 avatar
      Oberkanone

      Built in the parking lot on a Sunday quality!

      • 0 avatar
        TwoBelugas

        To be fair, no one knows when it was built according to some folks here. So it’s built-whenever-then-sat-in-a-parking-lot-until-sunday-5AM-QC-Crew quality.

    • 0 avatar
      Malforus

      This is really the biggest test for TESLA, if they can bring down that Model 3 ordering backlog, improve build quality and maintain their high margin Model S and Model X construction they can probably win back lots of fans.

      I genuinely want E-vehicles to succeed, I also want cars sold to be people to be safe and not suffering from faults.

    • 0 avatar
      fIEtser

      Yes, Model 3 has been outselling them (combined) for a couple months now.

    • 0 avatar
      jaffa68

      “and we did so without compromising quality”

      Then why say it?

  • avatar
    jeoff

    Noticing a lot more of them in Atlanta. We have gone from having aggressive state tax credits to none, but it seems that Tesla has gotten a solid foothold here in the process. Nissan has not done nearly as well—the old generation here is still thick as flies, but losing the tax break has hit the Nissan Leaf hard.
    Still, don’t think that Tesla can keep it up when the Federal credit dies.

  • avatar
    AVT

    I’ll admit, that last minute ramp up for production is impressive, especially on something as complicated as an automobile. I can’t help but wonder if those automated production mechanisms that were supposed to be fully up and going on the assembly line a while ago are finally working at or near peak capacity while maintaining quality. I certainly would be interested in tracking the VIN’s of the models built in the last 10 days and seeing where the reliability and recall/warranty numbers come out being. They did hit their goal for output so I imagine that for the time being, the shareholders will stay. My guess is if they can sustain this output for the next quarter, they’ll be just fine. That being said, given the increased production, Tesla will eventually have to address that they need to expand both their production facilities for all their vehicles (both for current, Model S,X,3; and future, model Y,Roadster) and service facilities especially in North America and Europe. Once those lower margin units start getting sold, I’ll speculate that those buyers may not necessarily have another automobile and won’t have the luxury to wait 3 weeks for service on their Tesla to get completed. And I’d be scared of taking it to a local, non-tesla dealer or mechanic as service from they likely invalidates your warranty according to Tesla’s finer point service terms.

    • 0 avatar
      AVT

      I’d also add, if and when they do start producing their semi trucks, those service centers better be ready, because that’s a whole different ball game. Normal service centers are not set up to handle semi trucks. Their lifts and hoists can’t even get them off the ground.

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        Probably most service needs of the electric trucks can be handled by any heavy duty truck service operation, and the proprietary stuff should be very reliable.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      “I’ll admit, that last minute ramp up for production is impressive, especially on something as complicated as an automobile.”

      Wasn’t the last minute several moons ago? This is limping across the finish line after the crowd left.

      • 0 avatar
        AVT

        Well looking at it for the entire month, the impressive part is almost all the model 3’s were built in the last week of June (just 7 days) so ya, that is a remarkably impressive ramp up for one model at the last minute. Considering the average for the month was about 2200 a week to suddenly basically double that plus some in one weeks time is noteworthy.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    So give Model 3s wearing dealer tags a wide berth, in case something falls off?

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    As someone who spent 25 years in quality assurance, I’d like to see how they deal with these (over)peak production runs. I can’t envision *anyone* in management wanting to explain to Elon that they missed this target, not once that it appeared to be within reach. “Say what you do, do what you say” can be a tough sell when the numbers guys get antsy.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      In my previous life, I too was trained and worked in manufacturing processes and more specifically quality control. This article published over the weekend, if true, makes my head spin

      https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/30/business/tesla-factory-musk.html

      There are so many things that can make industrial engineers and production planners’ jaws drop, I don’t even know where to start.

      • 0 avatar
        Sub-600

        Good article, thanks for the link. I wish they had touched on how much manufacturing experience the average Tesla employee has. If the turnover rate is that high they may be spinning their wheels, some people just can’t handle factory labor, especially if you’re going to toss them into a high pressure/long hours situation. Taking someone with little safety training and working them to the point of fatigue is dangerous. How can you even establish safety or quality standards when you change the process on the fly? Flexibility is one thing, seat of your pants is another. I never saw that type of nonsense when I worked at GM. Pushing equipment past design parameters borders on irresponsible, push a Tesla beyond normal operation and your warranty will be toast, lol.

      • 0 avatar
        indi500fan

        That story sounds like a lot of quality problems in what they are building, and perhaps not having good enough configuration control to know what it takes to fix them. Here in flyover country Teslas are rare, but for those in the Tesla hot spots, it might be interesting to watch how many are lining up at the bays of their consumer repair stations.

        • 0 avatar
          Sub-600

          That’s right, building and moving the cars is only the first step, service after the sale is important as well. If there are quality issues and Elon acts like he’s doing customers a favor simply by being Elon, Tesla will be in trouble. Not fatal trouble though, VW has a terrible customer service reputation and they get by. Then again VW is solvent and Elon begs for money from investors.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Definitely seeing a lot more of them on the streets of Vancouver now.

  • avatar
    turbo_awd

    Lots more around here (Bay Area). I canceled my reservation 3 months ago, and am still good with that decision.

    I agree with the skepticism about the “built in a rush” cars.. Anyone remember “Gung Ho”? :-)

    • 0 avatar
      incautious

      turbo did you get your money back yet?

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      Lets face it, with Bolts having been on dealer lots for a while now and we have not heard anything particularly bad about them, the only people who must buy a model 3 are those who have to have a Tesla and can’t afford an S.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I’ve already seen several Model 3s around the Pittsburgh area. By contrast, when I got my 12 Leaf, it was *7 months* before I saw another one.

      No regrets about my Model 3 cancellation in March.

      @TwoBelugas: My refund arrived in 4 days, which included a weekend. Don’t believe the rumors about delayed refunds.

  • avatar
    incautious

    More fuzzy math from lying Leon 28,578 comes out to just 2191 cars per week. Now If Tesla made 7000 cars last week that drops the number to just 1798 cars per week. But Elon been saying over 3000 per week . Unbelievable amount of BS from out of this company

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Tesla seems to have a lot of repeat buyers, which wouldn’t happen if the cars were crap. A first time buyer will tend to confirm his choice by saying something like, “sure, I love my car” and then go on to buy something else next time. That doesn’t appear to be happening with Tesla.

    My biggest issue is all the quirks that come along with these cars, such as having the entire MMI on a single screen, or having to wait for a software update so my $60K car get a blind spot warning system like the one on my wife’s $40K mini van.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      And god forbid if you ever are involved in a collision even if it’s not your fault

      https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/threads/repair-time-6-months.112515/

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      “Tesla seems to have a lot of repeat buyers, which wouldn’t happen if the cars were crap.”

      Tesla isn’t a car company, it’s a luxury brand and as all luxury brands the product is incidental. Nobody except the car press and a tiny subset of OCD enthusiasts care about panel gaps nor MMI crashes nor any of the other things that Tesla also doesn’t care enough about to get right. They care about their appearance and the car does that just fine.

      Self-destructing crap at twice the price never held Cadillac back. It didn’t hold the German brands that replaced Cadillac back. It won’t hold Tesla back. It won’t hold the vanity that comes next back either.

    • 0 avatar
      Lockstops

      I dunno, strange things happen in this world inhabited by these weird animals called human beings. People of the Soviet Union seemed to buy a lot of Ladas and the papers didn’t write about how they sucked?

      If all you know is crap, you have nothing to benchmark it against then how are you going to even know what the grass is like on the side of the fence of another car even remotely priced like that? Or alternatively (and mostly probably) if you’ve invested all of your ego into identifying with that expensive toy of yours, are you going to tell people that its sucks and lose face? I’m pretty sure there are even scientific terms for those patterns of behaviour, and that they are far from uncommon in human beings…

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        @Lockstops: Surprisingly, most Tesla buyers have owned, driven, and even maintained other cars before they bought a Tesla, including high-end cars.

        Are you suggesting Tesla buyers are jumping from Ladas into Teslas? Or are you suggesting that the Mercedes they drove previously was so bad that they don’t mind Tesla’s bad quality?

        Perhaps most of them are actually good cars.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      https://www.justanswer.com/tax/9u7e9-section-179-automobile-depreciation-tesla-model-110-000.html

      Tesla has repeat buyers for the same reason loaded F250s have repeat buyers.

    • 0 avatar
      fIEtser

      Not to mention that Teslas get high marks from consumers and many people generally have zero interest in driving a non-EV afterwards.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    “Our Model 3 weekly production rate also more than doubled during the quarter, and we did so without compromising quality,” the automaker said in a blog post.

    All independent reports have found Model 3 quality to be mediocre at best, so I am glad they have not compromised on their mediocre quality as they ramp up production.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    hopefully they’re not relying on Disco Stu for future projections.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      DISCO STU: Did you know disco record sales were up 400% for the year ending, 1976. If these trends continue; Heyyyyy!
      HOMER: Ah, your fish are dead.
      DISCO STU: Yeah I know. I can’t get them out of there.

  • avatar
    ItsBob

    Headline says—

    28,578 built…
    18,440 delivered…

    Where are they keeping the 10,178 extras?

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