The automaker widely missed its third-quarter goal of delivering 1,500 Model 3s and now twice has pushed back its target of producing 5,000 vehicles a week.
The company said it delivered a total of 29,870 vehicles in the fourth quarter, including 15,200 Model S and 13,120 Model X cars. In early October, Tesla said it expected to deliver about 100,000 of these in 2017.
The company said it manufactured 24,565 vehicles, including 2,425 Model 3s. Tesla clearly vastly overestimated its Model 3 manufacturing capability.
"We also just needed much people on (the) Model 3 line".
In a statement, Tesla officials said the company continues to "focus on quality and efficiency rather than simply pushing for the highest possible volume in the shortest period of time", and anticipates ending the first quarter at a weekly rate of about 2,500 Model 3 vehicles, and wrapping up the second quarter making 5,000 Model 3s per week. So we thought we will take the third shift from Model S and the X, and apply it to Model 3.
"It is impossible to purchase cylindrical batteries within Japan and we were even notified by Panasonic that they are not going to sell cylindrical batteries anymore." said a representative for a Japanese battery distributor, .
Analyst estimates for fourth-quarter deliveries were all over the map, as Tesla remained tight-lipped about its progress, with an average estimate of 2,917 vehicles, according to Bloomberg. The quarterly total is a 27% year-on-year rise, a 9% quarter-on-quarter increase and also the company's new all-time best quarter for S and X deliveries.
CEO Musk promised in July that Tesla would hit that pace by the end of previous year. Quality control obviously matters - nobody wants his or her vehicle of the future to be a buggy mess, a "lemon" in old-world parlance - but quality control and mass production have been happy bedfellows for literally decades, since Toyota revolutionized auto manufacturing in the 1970s and '80s. That's where battery cells are packaged into modules and four modules are packaged into battery pack.
With Tesla poised to post its earnings report for the holiday quarter later today, we won't have to wait long to see how overall Model 3 production stacked up in 2017.
In July, CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the company could most likely produce 20,000 Model 3s a month by December.
RBC Capital Markets analyst Joseph Spak wrote in a note that he did not believe Tesla will be required to do a capital raise. It built 793 Model 3 cars in the last seven working days of the fourth quarter, according to the press release issued Wednesday afternoon. But early versions of the Model 3 suffered battery quality problems, and it's not clear whether those have been sufficiently resolved.