Tesla Inc. temporarily put off production of the Model 3 electric sedan auto plant for a week in late February, a planned breather that eventually may help increase the output of the closely watched vehicle.

Model 3 production was put off from Feb. 20 to Feb 24 before picking up where it left off at an assembly plant in Fremont, California.

The automaker currently makes the Model S sedan, Model X sport utility vehicle and Model 3 at that site, and batteries at a plant known as the Gigafactory east of Reno, Nevada.

“Our Model 3 production plan includes periods of planned downtime in both Fremont and GIgafactory 1,“ a Tesla spokesman said in an emailed statement.

“These periods are used to improve automation and systematically address bottlenecks in order to increase production rates. This is not unusual and is, in fact, common in production ramps like this.”

The company did not provide specifics about the production upgrade but is said there could be more periods of downtime in coming months.

Model 3 Production


Last month, Tesla said in a shareholder note that it keeps its weekly target of Model 3 of 2,500 by the end of the first quarter and 5,000 by the end of the second quarter.

However, the company also said in the note that while it has plans to accomplish those goals, “our prior experience on the Model 3 ramp has demonstrated the difficulty of accurately forecasting specific production rates at specific points in time.”

Tesla’s weekly Model 3 production rate has been an endless source of fascination for fans, customers, reservation-holders, suppliers and investors alike. By late February, the Model 3 production rate had plunged.

Prospects that the Model 3 will widen Tesla’s customer base has helped drive Tesla to a stock market value of $55.3 billion, more than General Motors Co. or Ford Motor Co.

In the fourth quarter, Tesla said it delivered 28,425 Model S and Model X vehicles and 1,542 Model 3 vehicles, totaling 29,967 deliveries.

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