When Tesla reported its vehicle deliveries for the fourth quarter on Wednesday, many investors probably weren’t sure what to make of it. On the one hand the company can look back at another record-breaking quarter (and year) in terms of vehicle deliveries, but on the other hand it missed its production targets for the Model 3 by a mile.
When production of the “mass market” Tesla was about to start in July, CEO Elon Musk predicted that production could be ramped up to 20,000 cars per month by December. In reality, Tesla made just 2,425 Model 3s – in the entire fourth quarter. To those who have followed Musk throughout his career this shouldn’t come as a surprise. The ambitious entrepreneur sometimes seems to have inherited Steve Jobs’ famous “reality distortion field” and, thanks to his contagious and apparently unshakeable enthusiasm, he is getting away with it.
Despite the repeated delay in reaching certain production targets with the Model 3 – it is now scheduled to reach the December target by the end of Q2 2018 – there was some encouraging news in yesterday’s release. The company claims to have reached a weekly production rate of 1,000 vehicles in the last few working days of 2017 and to have made more Model 3s since December 9 than in the entire four months of production preceding that date.