Tesla is getting serious about its Model 3 production.
According to a Reuters report this week, Tesla is planning on shutting down production at its California assembly plant at some point in February to prep for the highly anticipated Model 3 sedan. The company hopes to begin production in July and officials said that its “brief, planned” pause would give the organization sufficient time to adequately prepare for what is sure to be a very busy period. During its week-long shutdown, Tesla is expected to add capacity to its paint shop and conduct other general maintenance.
“This will allow Tesla to begin Model 3 production later this year as planned and enable us to start the ramp towards 500,000 vehicles annually in 2018,” said a Tesla spokesman. He also noted that this brief cessation ought not to have an effect on first quarter production or delivery figures.
More than 370,000 customers have pre-ordered the Model 3 and while a number of experts have said that Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s July timeline might be too ambitious, it looks like the company is doing everything it can to prove naysayers wrong. Should pilot production begin on February 20 as planned, Tesla will be better suited to answer questions around the car’s timing when it reports on fourth quarter results on February 22.
The Model 3 will be a huge test for Tesla, which has yet to have a profitable year since it went public in 2010. But if the sedan proves successful, it could begin competing with other major automakers and move out of the high-end niche it created for itself. For what it is worth, Musk seems confident that the Model 3, at least in term of production, will go off without a hitch. In May, he told shareholders that the car would be “easy to make,” and in July, he noted that the design was complete.
Take that with a grain of salt, however, as a source told Reuters last week that designs were still changing, which could delay production.
So if you are on that long waitlist, keep holding your breath. Hopefully, it won’t be for much longer.