Shouting CEO, changing rules - inside Tesla's Model 3-building sprint

Irving Hamilton
July 6, 2018

It appears Tesla CEO Elon Musk ordered workers at the Fremont factory to stop making almost finished Model 3s undergo the "brake-and-roll" test, the report said. Tesla's share price had already fallen earlier in the day, due to analysts downgrading their predictions of the company's deliveries in the second quarter and increasing estimates of the losses that Tesla is making.

The stock closed down 7.2pc, wiping more than $5bn (£3.8bn) from Tesla's market capitalisation and erasing all its gains from Monday, when it revealed it had finally met its Model 3 production target of 5,000 cars per week.

"They've been throwing Model 3s ahead of the Model S to get painted to try to assure that they make their goal of 5000", a production worker said. He explained that the S line is about 800 cars behind because of the focus on the Model 3. In the last seven days of the second quarter, Tesla reports cranking out 5,031 copies of the sedan. It also produced 1,913 Model S and X vehicles. Tesla built 49,489 of those cars in the first half of this year.

However, not willing to let Tesla bask in its production achievement too long, Armstrong responded on Twitter to say that the American carmaker builds the same amount of vehicles in just 4 hours. A spokesperson also said workers from the S and X line had volunteered to help out on the 3 line.

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"The manager and supervisor are verbally going around and saying: "If you don't come in, you'll be written up", one of the workers told Reuters last week.

Tesla managed to meet the self-imposed deadline to produce 5,000 Model 3 autos after several quarters of failing to do so. This news comes as a gut-punch to to the bulls, which are now anxious about sustainability and speed bumps ahead on the Model 3 front.

Tesla's fortunes are widely believed to rest on the Model 3, a version of which is to eventually sell for as low as $35,000.

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