Tesla hits 5,000 Model 3 production target

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Tesla's goal of reaching 20,000 Model 3s per month seemed insurmountable, but it's done that and more.

CEO Elon Musk sent an e-mail to company employees Sunday praising them for producing 5,000 Model 3s, a compact auto that's created to shift Tesla from a niche manufacturer to a mainstream automaker. Couldn't be more proud to work with you.

Despite the simpler design and feature set, Tesla has struggled to get production numbers to a sufficient level.

In Oct. 2017, Musk said the plan was to reach a production rate of 10,000 vehicles per week towards the end of 2018.

The departure of engineering senior vice president Doug Field came as California-based Tesla appeared to have finally hit a self-imposed goal of cranking out 5,000 Model 3 electric cars in a week.

Tesla confirmed the contents of the email.

The electric automaker on Monday said 5,031 Model 3s rolled off the assembly line in the last seven days of Q2 alongside 1,931 Model S and X vehicles.

"They've been throwing Model 3s ahead of the S to get painted to try to assure that they make their goal of 5,000", the worker said.

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The milestone wrapped up an unusually eventful quarter for the automaker (even by Tesla standards) that included everything from threats of a Soviet newspaper relaunch, tents housing assembly lines, beefs with the NTSB, Teslas hitting fire trucks and police cars on Autopilot, braking distance reduction by an over-the-air software update, Twitter feuds with journalists and the Ford Motor Company and promises of rocket-assisted driving tech.

Tesla stock finished June with a 20% gain in share price, its best monthly performance in nearly four years, according to Bloomberg.

Shares of Tesla fell 2%, near 335.60 during midday trading on the stock market today. Tesla built 49,489 of those cars in the first half of this year. One employee said they were told to keep working until they met their daily production mark, not when their shifts ended.

Tesla says it target to deliver 100,000 Model S and Model X vehicles in 2018 is unchanged.

Musk promised "game-changing" features when he tweeted about the pickup in December, and last week, he seemed to cop to one such exclusive: onboard power for 240V tools and accessories.

In May, Tesla sent a new battery assembly line via cargo planes to its Gigafactory battery plant outside Reno, Nevada in order to speed production, as first reported by Reuters. He explained that the S line is about 800 cars behind because of the focus on the Model 3. Most recently in May, Tesla said that despite the delivery delays, its net Model 3 reservations - accounting for new orders and cancellations - exceeded 450,000 at the end of the first quarter.

Despite originally touting the Model 3 as a $35,000 vehicle, Tesla has yet to begin building that basic version and instead is now building a higher-priced version.

Bottom line, "Stock likely to experience some relief on achieving 5k Model 3/week since if this pace can be repeated, Tesla should turn into a self- funding company".

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