Tesla Once Again Suspends Model 3 Production

The electric car maker paused manufacturing its first attempts as mass-market cars for the second time since February.
Shelby Rogers

The Tesla Model 3 sedan recently hit yet another road block. The company announced yet another temporary suspension of Model 3 production of a car that's already behind schedule.

The announcement comes just a few days after company CEO Elon Musk told CBS News that he's "optimistic" about being able to catch up on production. 

According to the company, the pause in production will last between four to five days. Tesla employees said the announcement came without warning and that they could either use vacation days or stay home without pay. A handful of workers could potentially be used in other parts of the factory, BuzzFeed noted. 

Production mishaps aren't unheard of, even for the biggest of automotive companies. In an interview with the Washington Post, Kelley Blue Book executive analyst Akshay Anand said yet another Tesla pause in production doesn't surprise him. 

"This is Tesla’s first go-around of really mass-producing something," he said. "This is not the Model S or the Model X that’s only accessible to the elite. And when you have something that’s mass-marketed, it’s a different ballgame."

Tesla and Elon Musk seem to be in a back-and-forth relationship with automation. On April 13, Elon Musk responded to the CBS News interview he did by saying "Yes, excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake. To be precise, my mistake. Humans are underrated."

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Before this suspension, Tesla had last paused the line in late February but told the public that the pauses were "common in production ramps like this." The company issued a similar statement in response to the press's questions about this production pause as well. 

Currently, Tesla's production goal is to build 5,000 cars each week by the end of the second quarter. Originally, the goal was 5,000 units per week for a year-end goal in 2017. Throughout the process, the company adhered to its stance of promoting automation and streamlining the production process. 

Tesla workers, on the other hand, told a different story -- particularly after the first production pause. 


Shortly after the first suspension, Tesla factory workers got an email from the Senior VP of Engineering Doug Field. Field, according to the report from Bloomberg, asked some of the Model 3 line workers to work extra hours in order to boost production and make doubters "regret ever betting against us."

With increasing tensions between employees and the company, Tesla hasn't been able to meet production goals in recent months. Muks himself even called the process "production hell," telling investors in November that the future did not look incredibly promising for the company's first mass-market car.

“Let’s say Level 9 is the worst,” Musk said in that 2017 call. “We were in Level 9, now we’re in Level 8, and I think we’re close to exiting Level 8. I thought we’d probably be more like in Level 7 by now.”

“And I have to tell you, I was really depressed about three or four weeks ago when I realized we were in Level 9,” he added. “Then we got to Level 8, and now I can see a clear path to sunshine.”

Interesting Engineering will continue updating this story when more information becomes available. 

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