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Tesla Is Having Trouble Scaling The Model Y

Illustration for article titled Tesla Is Having Trouble Scaling The Model Y
Photo: Tesla

It seems like a few times every year we hear about some kind of production snafu happening at Tesla, usually related to the rollout of a new model. It happened with the Model S. It happened with the Model X. And it happened with Model 3 (pretty badly). Now it’s happening with the Model Y.


The Model Y went into production just before the pandemic forced Tesla to shut down its Fremont factory. Now that the factory is back to work, Tesla had hoped to ramp up Model Y production as well. But not everything has gone to plan.

And CEO Elon Musk is once again taking to the factory floor to see if he can fix problems himself.


From Bloomberg:

Tesla Inc.’s Elon Musk told employees the electric-car maker is having issues boosting output of its new Model Y crossover and said he’ll be walking the assembly line on a weekly basis to troubleshoot production snafus.

“We are doing reasonably well with S, X and 3, but there are production and supply chain ramp challenges with Model Y, as is always the case for new products,” Musk wrote in an internal email sent Saturday and seen by Bloomberg News.

It’s always unclear whether Elon taking to the factory floors actually helps—it seems distracting, if nothing else, if you’re trying to focus on your work and the billionaire CEO of the company is wandering around observing things. But whether it’s a publicity stunt or not—or maybe Elon’s just bored—these factory tours always just seem to come and go, and production rolls on.

And so far, Tesla has made it work, with the Model 3 a genuine success following similar scaling issues. Tesla’s ambitions for the Model Y are even bigger, because it’s the Model Y that Tesla thinks can be its volume car and outpace the Model 3. If that happens, we can start to really say that Tesla might be in business long-term.

News Editor at Jalopnik. 2008 Honda Fit Sport.

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I mean, sure, it can be kind of annoying to have the honcho strolling around and watching things work, but he might see things that can get better or get suggestions from people on the line. I think it used to be called “management by walking around” or something like that. There was a Japanese variety of the same idea whose name I have forgotten. At least he wants to be directly aware of what’s going on instead of getting rose-colored reports and excuses. (Note: I’m not an Elon Musk fanboy, but he’s done a few cool things that I like.)