Tesla spikes after hitting Model 3 production goal hours after self-imposed deadline

elon musk champagne REUTERS/Noah Berger

  • Tesla made true on its promise of building 5,000 Model 3 sedans in a week, it said Sunday.
  • The goal was met thanks to around-the-clock shifts and a makeshift assembly line in an outdoor tent.
  • Shares surged more than 5% when news of the production milestone crossed.
  • B skeptics say the production rate may not be sustainable.
  • Follow Tesla's stock price in real-time here.

Tesla spiked as much as 6% in early trading Monday after the electric-car maker reached its goal of producing 5,000 Model 3 sedans in a week, just hours after its self-imposed deadline.

The production milestone was hit at around 5 a.m. local time, Reuters reported, though skeptics warn the burst of production in a giant tent next to Tesla's Fremont, California assembly plant may not be sustainable.

"7000 cars, 7 days," Elon Musk, chief executive of the electric automaker said on Twitter to mark the Model 3 milestone as well as its other goal of 7,000 Model S and X cars. "<3 Tesla Team <3."

He also announced the news to employees in an email, which Bloomberg published in its entirety.

Workers had been alternating two, 12-hour shifts per day to ramp up production, according to recent reports. The company even built a massive tent structure outside its main assembly line, building a supplementary line completely from salvaged parts, Musk said.

The Model 3 - heralded as Tesla's first "mass market" car - has plagued the company since its launch. Tesla has struggled to meet its self-imposed goal of producing 5,000 of the vehicles per week since the beginning of the year. Amid a cash crunch, Tesla has focused on Model 3 options with sticker prices in the $65,000+ range, as opposed to the more affordable $35,000 base model, which it has yet to begin building.

Goldman Sachs analyst David Tamberrino warned in June that Tesla would likely miss its Model 3 targets, echoing the skepticism of many of his peers. Wall Street analysts polled by Bloomberg have an average price target of $314 for the stock, which is currently trading near $359 a share.

Musk has acknowledged the production struggles on Twitter, where he discussed sleeping at the factory while also blasting out photos of the tented assembly line, as well as armies of seats and other car supplies destined for Tesla cars.

Monday's stock surge also makes true on Musk's recent warning of the "short burn of the century," another show of his disdain for short sellers, or those investors betting against Tesla's stock price.

"We did it!!" Musk said in his email to Tesla employees Sunday evening, obtained by Bloomberg. "What an incredible job by an amazing team. Couldn't be more proud to work with you. It is an honor."

He continued: "The level of dedication and creativity was mind-blowing. We either found a way or, by will and inventiveness, created entirely new solutions that were thought impossible. Intense in tents. Transporting entire production lines across the world in massive cargo planes. Whatever. It worked. Not only did we factory gate over 5000 Model 3's, but we also achieved the S & X production target for a combined 7000 vehicle week!"

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