Exclusive: Suppliers doubt Tesla’s goals for Model 3 output


DETROIT/SAN FRANCISCO Tesla Motors Inc has astounded tools makers with skeleton to pierce adult a launch of high-volume prolongation of a Model 3 to 2018, dual years progressing than designed – an acceleration that retailer executives and attention consultants pronounced would be formidable to grasp and potentially costly.

In a past 3 months, Tesla (TSLA.O) has told suppliers a association was doubling a strange prolongation projections to 100,000 Model 3s in 2017 and 400,000 in 2018, several retailer attention executives informed with a skeleton told Reuters.

Details on Model 3 prolongation projections have not been reported previously, and Tesla did not mangle out aim volumes for a Model 3.

Tesla has taken 373,000 orders for a Model 3 – that has a starting cost of $35,000, about half a Model S – and has pronounced it would start patron deliveries in late 2017. But it has done no promises, and, on progressing models, business waited months for delivery.

Citing “tremendous demand,” Chief Executive Elon Musk told analysts on an Apr call that a association designed to boost sum production, including a existent Model S and Model X crossover, to 500,000 in 2018 – dual years progressing than a strange aim and a 10-fold boost over a 50,000 vehicles it done in 2015.

Musk pronounced Tesla told suppliers to ready for Model 3 prolongation tests in Jul 2017, a idea he concurred might be impractical for some. But he pronounced a “aggressive” aim was required to strech prolongation goals.

“Now, will we indeed be means to grasp volume prolongation on Jul 1 subsequent year? Of march not,” he told analysts.

“The reason is that even if 99 percent of a internally constructed equipment and retailer equipment are accessible on Jul 1, we still can't furnish a car since we can't furnish a car that is blank 1 percent of a components,” he said.

Musk pronounced a Model 3’s easier design, new prolongation hires and eager suppliers would assistance a association make a goals. He pronounced Tesla would dump suppliers that could not accommodate deadlines and would move some-more tools prolongation in-house than normal automakers typically do. He did not mention how most or that parts.

“It’s unequivocally critical for us to have a ability to furnish roughly any partial on a car during will since it alleviates risk with suppliers,” Musk told analysts.

Industry experts pronounced Tesla’s new goals were unusual and lifted doubts it could accommodate them. The handful of North American car plants able of building 500,000 vehicles a year are all run by automakers with decades of experience, they said.   

Tesla continues to have smoothness delays for a Model X SUV. Its Model S also missed smoothness targets when launched.


One snarl is that Tesla has not finalized a Model 3 pattern and specifications, pronounced automaking consultants and supply executives who asked not to be identified since Tesla prohibits them from disclosing agreement details.

Musk has pronounced a Model 3 pattern and engineering would be finish in June, 13 months forward of a designed prolongation startup.

Under ideal conditions, automakers have launched new public lines in 18 months, though they typically take dual to 3 years after a initial prolongation and supply contracts are signed, several prolongation consultants said.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU.N), for example, is converting a Sterling Heights, Michigan sedan plant to make 300,000 Ram 1500 pickups a year, a 50 percent boost in capacity.

“FCA already has a talent and a money, and a underlying machine is already commissioned in a plant,” pronounced one longtime supply sales executive. “They’re aiming to be adult and using in 2018, so they have dual years – and suppliers are wondering if they’ll make that deadline.”

Tesla says a Model 3 facilities 6,000 to 7,000 singular components, fewer than a standard car with a explosion engine and a Model S, that has some-more than 8,000 parts.

The association still is soliciting bids for tools and machinery, according to member from several of companies that have perceived them, as good as attention consultants who guard such bids.

Automaking consultant Ron Harbour of Oliver Wyman pronounced augmenting prolongation during a Fremont plant to 500,000 vehicles in 2018 would need some-more stamping, welding and public machine that “could take adult to 18 months to sequence and install.”

He pronounced Musk’s devise to make tools in-house can minimize risk, though it also can be some-more costly and distracting.

Tesla’s prolongation pull comes during a time of high direct for machine and prolongation combined by a swell in product launches entrance from determined automakers, pronounced a Detroit-based retailer sales executive.

Jeff Schuster of attention forecaster LMC Automotive pronounced a goals were “implausible,” in partial since Tesla’s battery bureau in Reno, Nevada, was unfinished.

Aluminum, lithium and other materials – already in brief supply – “could be another tying factor,” pronounced Sam Fiorani of AutoForecast Solutions.

Earlier this month dual tip prolongation executives left a company. Last week, Tesla pronounced it had hired Peter Hochholdinger, before of Volkswagen AG’s (VOWG_p.DE) Audi brand, as clamp boss of car production.  

Tesla might compensate a reward for work to speed adult a Model 3 prolongation launch, retailer executives said. The association has increasing a 2016 collateral spending foresee by 50 percent to about $2.25 billion.

On Wednesday, Tesla announced it would sell adult to $1.7 billion in new common shares, in partial to compensate for machine and engineering for a Model 3.

“I’d be unequivocally astounded if he can launch prolongation by subsequent July,” pronounced Frank Faga, a Detroit-based car prolongation consultant. “But this is a man who says he’s going to Mars. Who am we to contend he can’t do this?”

(Additional stating by Hyunjoo Jin in Seoul. Editing by Joseph White and Lisa Girion)


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