"Short-Tempered" Musk Reportedly "Snapped" At Staff Working 12-Hour Shifts In Model 3 "Production Hell" Week

The conditions at Tesla’s production facility leading up to meeting its Model 3 production goal have been reported as nothing short of hellish as Elon Musk "barked" at employees working 12 hour shifts, bottlenecking other parts of the company's production and reportedly causing concern by employees that the long hours and strenuous environment would cause even more workplace injuries and accidents.

Some Tesla analysts and bulls seemed surprised that the company's stock fell on Monday, even after the company was able to report at the end of the weekend that it had not only reached its 5,000 Model 3 per week goal, but also that it had produced 7,000 vehicles overall. “I think we just became a real car company,” Musk wrote in an e-mail to his employees after meeting the goal for one week.

This led to a nearly 30 point swing in the price of Tesla stock during trading on Monday and further declines today. The stock opened and was quickly over $360 per share before it ultimately faded, gave up all of its gains and went on to finish the day red by several percent. Perhaps this quick loss of confidence was a result of investors finally reading behind the surface level headlines.

Sure, Tesla was able to produce 5,000 Model 3's in a week, but at what cost? Skeptics and bears had asked what the point of meeting the 5,000 per work goal was if it must be done in an “all hands on deck“ fashion that is going to burn out employees and bottleneck other parts of the production line. For instance, it's now being reported that the company's Model S line is 800 cars behind schedule.

On Tuesday, Reuters reported that this is basically exactly what happened. In addition, they reported that a “short tempered“ Elon Musk personally oversaw production and “snapped“ at employees who were told that that weekend work days were mandatory and that 12 hour shifts should be expected.

The article stated:

A tense and short-tempered Chief Executive Elon Musk barked at engineers on the Fremont, California assembly line. Tesla Inc pulled workers from other departments to keep pumping out the Model 3 electric sedans, disrupting production of the Model S and X lines. And weekend shifts were mandatory.


Leading up to Sunday morning’s production milestone, Musk paced the Model 3 line, snapping at his engineers when the around-the-clock production slowed or stopped due to problems with robots, one worker said. Tesla built a new line in just two weeks in a huge tent outside the main factory, an unprecedented move in an industry that takes years to plan out its assembly lines, and said the tented production area accounted for 20 percent of the Model 3s produced last week.

“They were borrowing people from our line all day to cover their (Model 3) breaks so the line would continue to move,” said a Model S worker on Sunday.

Because of the focus on the Model 3, the S line is about 800 cars behind, the worker said.

“They’ve been throwing Model 3s ahead of the S to get painted to try to assure that they make their goal of 5,000,” the worker said. “The paint department can’t handle the volume.”

Employees were told that 12-hour days, 6-days-a-week would be expected. The company even re-wrote its attendance policy to make exceptions as to when they had to notify employees that they would be working weekends. We can't help but wonder what impact this has had on morale:

Last week’s big push also brought a rewrite of the employee attendance policy. After mandatory weekend shifts were assigned, two workers said, Tesla rescinded a policy promising workers at least one week’s notice before weekend work.

“The manager and supervisor are verbally going around and saying: ‘If you don’t come in, you’ll be written up’,” one of the workers told Reuters last week.

Some employees are worried the frenetic pace plus long hours could burn out workers. One employee said they were told to keep working until they met their daily production mark, not when their shifts ended.

“They said starting tomorrow be prepared to work up to 12 hours,” said the Model S employee on Monday. “It’s gonna be basically 12 hours from now on and I’ve got a feeling it’s gonna be six days a week.”

Confirming an earlier Reuters report from late last week, Reuters again noted that the influx of new vehicles at a high rate bottlenecked the company's paint shop, despite CEO Elon Musk responding to these allegations last week by Instagramming a relatively meaningless photograph of the company's paint shop as if to say “hey, everything is fine."

Reuters reported that this bottleneck could threaten the company's annual total production goals:

Disruption of the Model S and X lines could threaten Tesla’s target of building 100,000 of those vehicles in 2018. Tesla built 49,489 of those cars in the first half of this year.

Asked about the potential S and X impact, Tesla said it also produced 1,913 of those vehicles during the last week of the quarter along with its Model 3s.

Tesla said it built a total of 28,578 Model 3s in the second quarter, and 40,989 since production began last July.

The hellish week of production seems to have taken its toll on employees, at least going by reports of what they told Reuters. The article notes that employees believe that the strenuous hours and the nonstop work will eventually burn out the staff, if it hasn’t already, and will lead to increased injuries and Musk "going through an awful lot of people". In addition, with just one week's run of 5,000 Model 3's behind them, Tesla is now giving some of the line a break for the Fourth of July holiday:

In the morning of Sunday, July 1, about five hours after the self-imposed second-quarter deadline had passed, the number 5,000 flashed on a countdown screen viewed by Tesla’s Model 3 assembly-line workers. The Model 3 itself bore a “5,000” sign in its front window.

Tesla said on Monday that some of its Model 3 production would be on break as part of the July 4 holiday, with production to resume on Thursday. Tesla plans to build 6,000 Model 3s per week by August.

But the worker told to expect longer shifts warned that pushing assembly-line workers too hard could backfire.

“He (Musk) is gonna go through an awful lot of people because people are gonna start getting hurt left and right,” by the fast-moving assembly line, the worker said.

“There’s only so fast a person can move.”

Tesla had released a production update early Monday claiming  that it had met its 5,000 car per week a goal by “factory gating“ 5000 Model 3s and 7000 total cars over the course of a week.

As one astute observer noticed on Twitter, however, the time from reserving your Model 3 to getting it delivered has shrunk. This seems to indicate that the pool of orders waiting to be filled on the Model 3 is also starting to shrink.

For now, the company technically has “hit its goal“ - but are we going to find out soon that the price that they paid for it in terms of not only overtime, but also production facility inefficiency and employee well-being, wasn’t worth it? The market already seems to think so.


booboo Croesus Wed, 07/04/2018 - 22:48 Permalink

He will need to because every month he has to keep this level of production up...in a tent...in the desert...with cult members that are getting burned out. To make matters worse he is getting increasingly paranoid, the flower is losing it's bloom and he has instituted a "cuss jar" on the production floor to be used to keep the engineers from jumping ship.

"terrain terrain...pull up, pull up...whooop whooop terrain terrain..pull up pull up"

In reply to by Croesus

Wile-E-Coyote Croesus Thu, 07/05/2018 - 01:55 Permalink

He will reintroduce the whip, no toilet breaks and the employees will have to pay for their own diapers.

Seriously who will buy one of these cars, the quality will be crap. People on the production line will make mistakes and or find errors and they will push the cars through regardless, this will come back and bite Musk; the eegit.

It's all very desperate!

In reply to by Croesus

not dead yet Chupacabra-322 Thu, 07/05/2018 - 02:37 Permalink

It's only Musk that says there are 5000 and if there are betcha a lot of them were made in the weeks previous and banked. The fact that he is lying is he claims 20% or 1000 vehicles were built in the tent in during "hell" week. Ain't no way with that totally inefficient operation. Musk blew smoke up everybody's ass when he claimed the tent made them faster and better. If that really was the case why did the boy genius buy an engineering company so he could automate the crap out of his factory to "revolutionize" the way cars are made.

More smoke blowing when Musk claimed the tent went from planning to finish in 2 weeks. No way. It would take far longer than that to get the permits and more time to line up the contractors. All signs are this "tent" was long in the planning for another purpose and Musk put a half ass production line in it for PR value. All the bodies put on that line were already painted which means they went through the "bottleneck" paint line then removed either creating holes in the main production line or the line that was going to "revolutionize" auto mfg can't keep up or were made weeks earlier and "banked"and later assembled in the tent.

In reply to by Chupacabra-322

HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 Kidbuck Wed, 07/04/2018 - 21:48 Permalink

Oh bullshit. There are slow downs where people can take a quick break. I did 12 on / 12 off for weeks at a time on a number of occasions in the Army. FFS, when we were training in Belgium I remember a colonel yelling at me to to figure out what the fuck was wrong and make it work! Guess what? I did. Got the equipment squared away. Nothing like lighting a fire under someoee's ass to get them moving!

Some of you guys are such fucking pussies or soy boys or so fragile and useless it's disgusting. When you work shifts like that you sleep well, don't have time to party or fuck around, and you show up ready for the next day because you know it's going to be long. I did 60 days, at a time, and didn't suffer any long-term damage. Shit, at least these workers get to go home to a real bed, a hot shower, and the food of their choice! Try sleeping in an unheated tent, in West Germany, eating C-rats and B-rats (dehydrated crap reformulated by the cooks), with a shower once a week (if you are lucky).

People today are spoiled beyond belief.

In reply to by Kidbuck

Midas Anonymous_Bene… Thu, 07/05/2018 - 00:25 Permalink

I work 12 hour shifts now.  My job isn't too physical, but I am on my feet and probably cover 10 miles a day.  It ain't easy.  Don't forget these workers have to commute to work and probably get some food ready and do some basic chores when they get home.  Just because someone worked 12 hour shifts twenty years ago doesn't mean you could do it today.  I worked 12 hour shifts 20 years ago and my boss had the starting times staggered by 6 hours so someone would always be fresh.  He told me every study he had ever read showed worker production falling off a cliff after 10 hours.  And the comment about pacing yourself is absolutely true.  Even if I feel great in the morning I have learned how to pace for the long day.  I hope my next car won't be assembled by someone 11 hours into a shift on day 5 or 6.

I guess you could say it is a young man's job, but isn't that another way of saying "We don't have experienced craftsmen"?

In reply to by Anonymous_Bene…

salv0 HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 Wed, 07/04/2018 - 22:40 Permalink

So what I worked 12 hour and 12 hour off in Iraq and Afghanistan heavy construction for 3-4mos.at a time before any leave or break  for over 5yrs., in 110+F weather and -10F with a 20inches of snow and that was a short day did not include the many super dust storms

That proves nothing this is manufacturing where you are supposed  to be putting out a quality product while meeting the demands for a high production assembly line with an idiot for a boss screaming at his supervisors to push faster and harder for a wage just enough to live on in California .

Ist time they screamed at me they would be looking for new dental work or I would gladly hand them my tool belt and ask them show me how it should be done .

Did this many times in the mideast these supers always shut up and walk away because they cannot do the actual work.

HRH go back to your armchair with your macho memories but do not tell these people how to work unless your on the line with them.

This the last bit of proof that Tesla is one of the 3000 failed US auto cos.in the last 100yrs also the reason they have unions in manufacturing to stop this abuse and train the skills for better quality. 



In reply to by HRH of Aquitaine 2.0

HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 salv0 Thu, 07/05/2018 - 00:03 Permalink

Go back to my armchair? Oh my! Another liberal that supports unions. Not surprised. If you were in the big sand box for that many years, you either volunteered or were well compensated as a private contractor, or both. So you are whinging about it now? Having a pissing contest?

But to show up here and claim that unions mean better quality? Yeah. Those unions are the reason Detroit and much of Ohio are the rustbelt. Those government unions are the reason when you go the VA the employees can get away with murder. If not directly they can get away with it indirectly by infecting you with HIV or Hep C. due to unsterilized or unhygienic equipment.

But you know, as you are claiming, unions are there to make sure quality standards are upheld. Those unions are the reason you, and your family, can't sue the VA for giving you an untreatable infection, cutting off the wrong limb, or outright killing you. Good luck trying to sue a VA doctor, or staff employee, for malpractice or wrongful death or wrongful injury. You can't, thanks to those goverment employee unions.

If you believe that load of crap I have some property for sale in Arizona. It's oceanfront. Cheap.

Oh, and try punching someone as a civilian. You'll end up without a job. Unless you work at the VA.

In reply to by salv0

not dead yet HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 Thu, 07/05/2018 - 03:07 Permalink

Anybody who has to brag how good they are is just blowing smoke to puff himself up. How much of that time was sitting on your ass getting things squared away. Get on the line with those boys and get back to us. I worked production when I was much younger and put in long hours too. No problem if you could move around. The worst jobs are the ones where you have to stand and have very little movement. Your legs get all cramped up and at the end of the shift walking is a problem and the legs hurt like hell for hours. It's the same for almost everybody and guess what hot shot. That's what most assembly jobs are. Not to mention the most injuries are repetitive motion injuries which is also most assembly line jobs. So pop on over to Fremont and I'm sure Musk is looking for supermen like yourself.

On a proper running auto assembly line there is no such thing as a slowdown. The line keeps moving except for lunch. You can't leave your post until the relief man takes your spot as the line does not stop. The relief man is going to report your ass if you take more than the allotted time so no one working the line can take an extended break. The fact that you claim there are slow periods on the line shows how truly ignorant you are.

In reply to by HRH of Aquitaine 2.0

rtalcott Wed, 07/04/2018 - 19:25 Permalink

Standard for fucked up start-ups...been down this road too many times to count....it's never the head cunt's lack of planning (knowledge, skill....) that gets you into this...never...always the staff/workers.

Chupacabra-322 rtalcott Wed, 07/04/2018 - 20:01 Permalink

@ rtalcott,

Musk’s start ups do not run cheap either.

Rockets. Well, the American Tax Payer got fucked in the ass on that one.




Billions spent.   Musk fucked up.  Should have kept his strategy simple & stuck to Solar & Perhaps one of the other Billion Dollar Money Pit, crazy hair brained Scheme’s.



In reply to by rtalcott

just the tip Winston Churchill Wed, 07/04/2018 - 23:09 Permalink

out of all the articles written about the car company known as tesla, i keep wondering and thinking, "why are there no references to UAW?  the UAW would have no part of that 12 hour shift horseshit.  and if you want 5000, make them yourself.  i guess when the HNIC gave the car company known as tesla their seed money, they told the UAW to stand down on our boy elon, or they would turn the CIA loose on their ass.

the other thing is, the labor laws in california are some of the most fucked in the nation.  i just don't see that 12 hour shift as a happening thing.  maybe the california labor commizar moonlights for the CIA?

In reply to by Winston Churchill