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Tesla Reaches Model 3 Production Target

Tesla Reaches Model 3 Production Target

Wall Street is feeling more cautious about Tesla after the electric automaker once again missed production expectations for its newest Model 3 sedan.

Deliveries hit new levels as well, with Tesla delivering 29,980 vehicles in total during the first quarter.

Announced in March 2016, and originally set for launch by the end of 2017, the Model 3 generated huge interest, with 450,000 (paid) reservation deposits plonked down. Although it ended up behind schedule, Tesla says it was able to double the weekly production rate of the Model 3 throughout the quarter by addressing bottlenecks, which involved temporarily shutting down factories to upgrade equipment.

The Model 3 production did not go to plan.

Musk himself has taken direct control of Model 3 production and the company says it already has about 500,000 advance reservations from customers for the auto.

Separately, CNN reported that Tesla will voluntarily recall about 123,000 Model S sedans due to problems with the luxury sedan's power steering, and a class-action lawsuit against Musk and Tesla's board of directors over the company's acquisition of a solar panel company is set to proceed after a judge in DE refused to dismiss it. At a cost of US$35,000 apiece, the company's debut electric sedan for the mass market promises a 215-mile (346-km) range, a sub-six-second 0-60 miles per hour (96.5 km/h) sprint and Tesla's evolving suite of autonomous driving technologies.

The real takeaway from the report is that unlike some of Musk's other notable successes, the auto industry may not have been as ripe for disruption as Tesla would have hoped.

Many professional shorts (AKA hedge funds) judge it too risky and stay out of the game, but watch intently, and much of the Tesla share register (the longs) are in the "fanboy" classification.

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"Tesla may have stockpiled batteries amid Fremont downtime, allowing production to be higher in the final week of the first quarter", Johnson wrote.

Musk said in October 2016 that the company planned to do a Los Angeles-New York trip "without the need for a single touch" of the steering wheel by the end of previous year to demonstrate the capabilities of Autopilot.

Tesla also sought to dispel quality concerns for the Model 3, which GTM reported on last month.

Tesla has not been cash-positive for its 10 year history (with the exception of 2013 when a hoard of government incentive credits pulled it briefly cash-positive), so it has been relying on a series of share and debt issues to keep going.

Tesla declined to give production figures for the week to March 31.

Shares in Tesla rose by around 3% following the statement.

The production numbers, while short of Tesla's own target, are far above the 793 Model 3s built in the final week of past year.

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