Tesla delays: Model 3 car parts ‘being made by hand’

Tesla delays: Model 3 car parts ‘being made by hand’, by the Wall Street Journal.

Tesla Inc blamed “production bottlenecks” for having made only a fraction of the promised 1,500 Model 3s, the $US35,000 sedan designed to propel the luxury electric-car maker into the mainstream.

Unknown to analysts, investors and the hundreds of thousands of customers who signed up to buy it, as recently as early September major portions of the Model 3 were still being banged out by hand, away from the automated production line, according to people familiar with the matter.

While the car’s production began in early July, the advanced assembly line Tesla has boasted of building still wasn’t fully ready as of a few weeks ago, the people said. Tesla’s factory workers had been piecing together parts of the cars in a special area while the company feverishly worked to finish the machinery designed to produce Model 3’s at a rate of thousands a week, the people said.

Automotive experts say it is unusual to be building large parts of a car by hand during production. “That’s not how mass production vehicles are made,” said Dennis Virag, a manufacturing consultant who has worked in the automotive industry for 40 years. “That’s horse-and-carriage type manufacturing. That’s not today’s automotive world.”

In a statement, a Tesla spokeswoman declined to answer questions for this article and said, “For over a decade, the WSJ has relentlessly attacked Tesla with misleading articles that, with few exceptions, push or exceed the boundaries of journalistic integrity. While it is possible that this article could be an exception, that is extremely unlikely.” The Journal disagrees with the company’s categorisation of its journalism. …

The extent of the problem came to light on Monday when Tesla said it made only 260 Model 3s during the third quarter—averaging three cars a day. The company cited production bottlenecks but didn’t explain much further. …

In Mr Musk’s pursuit to rid the world of combustion engines, Tesla is trying to apply Silicon Valley’s ethos of rapid change to the type of complex manufacturing process that traditional auto makers have spent decades perfecting. Unusual in the U.S. tech industry, where even companies that do make hardware generally outsource their manufacturing, Tesla’s challenge requires integrating an army of factory workers and some 10,000 parts from suppliers around the world. …

Calling his cars a “computer on wheels,” Mr. Musk caught conservative Detroit off guard with Tesla’s ability to quickly change features, such as a semiautonomous drive system, with software updates over the air. The company’s stock has soared about 69% in the past 12 months, at times pushing its market value past General Motors Co.’s .

Partly hand-made: I guess Tesla still aren’t as good at making cars as the traditional auto makers. Yet.

hat-tip Andrew