Tesla hits 5,000 Model 3 production target

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According to the company's vehicle production and deliveries report, the GA3 line within the Fremont factory is expected to have the capability to hit a production rate of 5,000 Model 3 per week on its own.

"We did it! What an incredible job by an wonderful team", CEO Elon Musk wrote to employees on Sunday. The company says it was producing 5,000 cars per week by the end of the quarter, and it expects to reach 6,000 cars per week by late August.

"I think we just became a real auto company", Mr Musk wrote.

Mr Musk said that, together with production of Tesla's Model S auto and Model X SUV, the company achieved "a combined 7,000 vehicle week!".

Tesla confirmed the contents of the email.

The new milestone - despite being put in rather harsh perspective by Ford CEO Steven Armstrong (see Tweet below) - is important for Tesla, to reassure both shareholders about its mass production capability, and customers, who have been waiting patiently for delivery of their Model 3 since this time past year. After several forced shutdowns to correct for production issues, the firm built a tent factory for a new assembly line to help meet its targets. "Whatever. It worked", he said.

Another worker speaking after the 5,000th auto was made described the factory as a "mass celebration". In terms of sales, it still blows away other electric-car companies in the U.S. And on Monday, the head of Panasonic's automotive business, Yoshio Ito, said the company would "consider additional investment" in Tesla's Gigafactory.

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What is impressive about Tesla's 7,000-car production rate is not as much that they produced 7,000 cars in a week but that they produced 7,000 electric cars in a week - something that is unprecedented by any other automaker. That total included 28,578 Model 3s, marking the first time production of the sedan exceeded combined Model S and Model X production.

FILE PHOTO: A row of new Tesla Model 3 electric vehicles is seen at a parking lot in Richmond, California, U.S. June 22, 2018.

Tesla has begun producing more expensive versions of the Model 3, including the Performance model, which can top out at $80,000, a little more than the price of an entry-level Model S. Priced any higher and it will become a lifestyle vehicle for image-conscious folks in Beverly Hills or Westchester County.

June was turbulent for Tesla. The ex-worker claims he is a whistleblower.

Tesla opened the floodgates last week, inviting all Model 3 reservation holders in the U.S. and Canada to configure their auto and put in their order, a step that costs $2,500.

The Model 3 endeavor is widely seen as the project that will make or break Tesla.

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