Tue, Jul 03, 2018 - Page 10 News List

Tesla hits weekly goal of 5,000 Model 3s: CEO

AP

Electric car maker Tesla Inc has delivered on its chief executive’s promise to build a lower-priced car at a rate of 5,000 per week by the end of last month.

CEO Elon Musk on Sunday sent an e-mail to employees praising them for producing 5,000 Model 3s, a compact car that is designed to shift Tesla from a niche manufacturer to a mainstream automaker.

Musk said the company had cranked out a combined 2,000 of Model S sedans and Model X sport-utility vehicles, bringing overall production to a record 7,000 for the week.

“We did it!” Musk wrote. “What an incredible job by an amazing team.”

The e-mail was reported by the Web site Electrek, and the company confirmed its authenticity.

Last summer, when the first Model 3s began rolling off the assembly line, Musk promised to build 5,000 per week by December and 10,000 per week this year.

Model 3 sales are critical to Tesla’s future. The company has never posted a full-year profit, and it burned through more than US$1 billion in cash in the first quarter. Wall Street investors, who have pushed the company’s stock beyond US$340 per share, are growing impatient with the losses.

The company reached 5,000 per week as Musk spent many nights inside the Fremont, California, factory that once belonged to a joint venture between General Motors and Toyota. To quickly put another assembly line in place, Tesla built a large tent at the factory site. Musk told investors on a first-quarter earnings conference call that the company relied too heavily on automation. It had to hire more people to work at the factory.

Many have been waiting since March of 2016, when Tesla began taking orders with a US$1,000 refundable deposit.

The company might also have to deal with some safety issues. Investigators from two federal agencies are looking into five crashes of its vehicles, some involving the semi-autonomous Autopilot system or post-crash battery fires that have been difficult to extinguish.

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