Update: According to Business Insider, fewer than 100 vehicles have actually made it through the "tent" facility, technically known as GA4 (or General Assembly 4) line since production began in early June. The publication also notes that it is "unlikely GA4 will provide the output Tesla needs to reach it's 5,000 Model 3 goal for some time, according to one of the company's employees."
Business Insider also reported that Tesla has only built made around 6,000 Model 3s this month, well short of the 5,000/week quota set by Elon Musk.
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Over the past week Tesla stock has enjoyed a torrid surge, driven by a short squeeze following an email to employees by CEO Elon Musk, in which he updated workers of the company’s plan to produce 5,000 Model 3 cars per week by the end of this month, and warning short sellers "they have about three weeks before their short position explodes", supposedly a warning that the company will surprise Wall Street with either stellar (or at least positive) cash flow or production numbers.
Musk said the company is now producing “about 500” vehicles per day, or about 3,500 per week, adding that some parts of the production system have already reached the quota of 700 cars per day and praised staff for their hard work.
“It’s getting very exciting! All parts of the Model 3 production system are now above 500 and some are almost at 700 cars already. Congratulations to all on making so much progress,” Musk said in the email sent Friday night.
And yet, it wasn't all clear skies, because Musk also said that there are a few bottlenecks preventing all parts of production from reaching the goal of 700 cars per day. “Radical improvements” are still needed on some parts of the production line, the real world Tony Stark lamented. That confused some investors: how can the company be on track to hit its quota yet be in desperate need of "radical improvements"?
Adding to the bizarre narrative and the inherent contradictions in the story, the CEO told employees that he will be at the Fremont factory “almost 24/7 for the next several days” to make sure the teams that are behind -- which include the paint shop and the end of the general assembly line -- get “as many resources as they can handle.”
The paradoxical twist, of course, was that one week ago, just as Tesla was entering the burst quarter end period, Musk was firing 9% of the "salaried workforce" raising more than one eyebrow about the company's management (and motivational) methods.
Still, even with all this excitement, Tesla was behind: earlier this month Musk said it is “quite likely” that Tesla will hit a weekly Model 3 production rate of 5,000 cars “by the end of this month.” Here, too, eyebrows were raised as Tesla had originally planned to make 5,000 Model 3 cars per week by the end of 2017, but could not even hit half that quota in reality.
Which brought us to this weekend, when Musk unveiled that as crunchtime was approaching, the company launched a whole new general assembly line "in 3 weeks w minimal resources" which incidentally was housed in a tent, and tweeted what he claimed was a "pic of 1st Model 3 dual motor performance coming off the line."
Amazing work by Tesla team. Built entire new general assembly line in 3 weeks w minimal resources. Love u guys so much! Pic of 1st Model 3 dual motor performance coming off the line … pic.twitter.com/Xr55P3fmGd— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 16, 2018
Then, on Tuesday morning, with just 11 days left until the end of the quarter and the deadline to hit the Model 3 quota, Musk explained that he "needed another general assembly line to reach 5k/week Model 3 production. A new building was impossible, so we built a giant tent in 2 weeks."
Needed another general assembly line to reach 5k/week Model 3 production. A new building was impossible, so we built a giant tent in 2 weeks. Tesla team kfa!! Gah, love them so much ♥️🚘💫— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 19, 2018
Incidentally, these are just two of the dozens of tweets Musk has sent out in the past two weeks, a time when he supposedly was "on the factory floor", when in reality he has been wasting much of his time in futile Twitter arguments.
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And so, as the back and forth between Trump and his skeptics and critics continues, earlier today covert videos showing the inside of the Model 3 production "tent", which houses the latest assembly line was leaked. What it reveals is concerning... because it reveals nothing at all: an assembly line with a handful of cars on it, with virtually no production, with no engaged workers and worst of all, no movement or purpose at all. Almost as if the whole facility is one elaborate stage prop to give the impression of work, as the actual workers just sit around and do nothing.
One look at the below video, and one wonders just how many Model 3 is Tesla really producing at this moment?
European Lunch Break* pic.twitter.com/7H4BYilGB2— IspyTSLA (@IspyTsla) June 19, 2018
After watching these recording, our only question is how long before Elon Musk blames them on another "saboteur."