Tesla Misses Model 3 Production Goal Over 'Manufacturing Bottleneck'

Photo: Tesla
Photo: Tesla

Tesla has sky-high expectations for the release of the all-electric Model 3 sedan, including benchmarks set by the company’s CEO, Elon Musk. The automaker managed to get production rolling by a Musk-imposed July deadline, but it made only 260 Model 3s ever since—far less than Musk’s expectation.


In the third quarter of 2017, Tesla said on Tuesday, the automaker delivered 26,150 vehicles. Of that, about 14,000 were attributed to the Model S, 11,865 to the Model X, and 220 to the Model 3. The total represented a 4.5 percent increase compared to the same quarter in 2016.

But in July, Tesla had anticipated producing about 1,500 Model 3s in September alone, before ramping up to 5,000 per month by December.

The company conceded in a note to investors on Tuesday that Model 3 production was “less than anticipated due to production bottlenecks.”

“Although the vast majority of manufacturing subsystems at both our California car plant and our Nevada Gigafactory are able to operate at high rate, a handful have taken longer to activate than expected,” Tesla said.


The automaker went on to say that it’s “important to emphasize that there are no fundamental issues with the Model 3 production or supply chain.”

“We understand what needs to be fixed and we are confident of addressing the manufacturing bottleneck issues in the near-term,” Tesla said.


Tesla’s delivery count for Q3—25,336 in total—varies from the production count because, as the automaker put it, “we only count a car as delivered if it is transferred to the customer and all paperwork is correct.”

Bottlenecks aside, the company’s still in the early stages of production for the all-electric sedan, which starts at $35,000. The initial batch is intended for Tesla employees, with the intention of working out any kinks in the car before deliveries to the rest of the roughly half-million Model 3 reservation holders. That explains why some basic features—for instance, FM radio—have yet to be installed on the earliest produced Model 3s.

Senior Reporter, Jalopnik/Special Projects Desk


Chris Amaya

Apparently 1 of 6 Model 3’s in the San Jose area. This one was at a Target in the middle of the night. What are the odds?