CEO Elon Musk said Tesla was making 2,000 Model 3s a week, but failed to assuage doubts about the company reaching its 5,000-a-week target in three months time.
Tesla has temporarily suspended its Model 3 assembly line as Elon Musk’s electric car firm struggles to deliver on targets.
The company said the move was a planned production pause of up to five days. It is the second time since February that Tesla has halted its production line for the Model 3 at its Fremont, California plant.
“These periods are used to improve automation and systematically address bottlenecks in order to increase production rates,” said a Tesla spokesperson.
The shutdown took Tesla staff at the plant by surprise, forcing them to use vacation days or stay at home without pay, according to reports from BuzzFeed.
Tesla suspended production of its Model 3 for four days in February in what the company said was planned work to improve automation and address bottlenecks. It warned of possibly more periods of downtime in coming months.
Car manufacturers typically stop or slow production of new models when ironing out problems with production. Tesla took shortcuts with testing of its production line in order to get to market more quickly, which some experts say have resulted in early manufacturing problems.
Musk recently admitted that “excessive automation” at the Tesla plant had contributed to what he calls “manufacturing hell” and had actually slowed down manufacturing of the crucial mass-market model.
“We had this crazy, complex network of conveyor belts … And it was not working, so we got rid of that whole thing,” Musk told CBS.
The electric car firm has repeatedly missed targets and is now trying to reach a production volume of 2,500 vehicles per week. Musk recently said Tesla was managing to make 2,000 Model 3s a week, but failed to assuage doubts about the company reaching its 5,000-a-week target in three months time.
Musk tweeted on Friday that Tesla would be profitable and cash flow positive in the third and fourth quarters, with no need to raise money.
Many analysts dispute this analysis, which hinges on a rapid rise in production of the Model 3 sedan. Delays and lower-than-expected volume have postponed revenue from cars being delivered to customers from reaching Tesla’s bottom line.