Tesla is taking a break after hitting Model 3 production target

Tesla Inc. vehicles are transported on a truck after leaving the company’s manufacturing facility in Fremont, California, US, on Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (Bloomberg pic)

SAN FRANCISCO: Even real car companies need a breather now and then.

After working around the clock for weeks on end to surpass a production goal, Tesla Inc. is pausing some Model 3 production this week, according to people familiar with the matter. The break will let the company do basic upkeep and maintenance, and workers will get to enjoy hot dogs and fireworks with their families on July 4.

Most employees will be back to work July 5, and the short hiatus won’t affect Tesla’s production targets. Tesla reported earlier Monday that Model 3 output reached 5,031 in the final seven days of June, beating a 5,000-car target that Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk had said was crucial to generating cash and earning profit.

In early trading Tuesday, Tesla shares were on course for a second straight day of declines, down 1% to US$331.61. The stock slid 2.3% on Monday as investors questioned whether the company can sustain its level of output.

By passing the mass-manufacturing milestone, Musk said Tesla has proved it’s a real car company. To his point, lots of automakers schedule summer shutdowns around Independence Day for maintenance work.

Still, Tesla’s manufacturing pause is coming after a frenetic three months that involved building a makeshift production line under a tent outside its California assembly plant. Musk was sleeping on the factory floor to personally ensure the company met its production target. On Monday, the carmaker said it will be able to produce 6,000 Model 3s a week by the end of August. If history repeats itself, that means Tesla workers might get a nice break around Labor Day, Sept 3.