Tesla Model 3 production approached 2700 units in 2017

One-third of the quarter’s S3 were made in the last seven days. Bill Pugliano  Getty Images

2018 will be the year when the Tesla bulls have their optimism tested. Tesla disclosed those production problems in October and then delayed the timeline for producing 5,000 Model 3 cars per week to late in the first quarter of 2018.

The Palo Alto-based carmaker added that it built 2,425 units of the Model 3 during that quarter, with 793 built during the last seven days of the quarter - about 10 times the amount produced in the third quarter. The company has been blowing through more than $1 billion a quarter as it's had trouble scaling up output despite spending heavily on robots, assembly lines and tooling for the sedan that is Musk's cheapest yet, starting at $35,000. "While Tesla's repeated guidance revisions could begin to risk damaging its elite brand, a mass-recall would probably be far more damaging", he noted. We believe that Tesla is (correctly) taking advantage of its unique beta testing ecosystem.

Tesla shares closed lower for a second consecutive trading session on Thursday. Analysts had expected 4,100 Model 3 sedans to be delivered in the fourth quarter, according to financial data and analytics firm FactSet.

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The holdup with the Model 3 is probably resulting from Tesla biting off a lot to chew - CEO Elon Musk has recently promised a new electric semi truck, an electric pickup and a new road-rocket Roadster, on top of a "Model Y" compact SUV - plus manufacturing issues and "niggling problems" with the Model 3, Peterson said. That is why it made sense that the initial delays were due to battery bottlenecks at Tesla's Nevada factory: no batteries means no cars.

As would be expecting, the Tesla Q4 2017 deliveries report focuses on an optimistic worldview, noting that the quarter brought more record-high production numbers for the Model S and Model X. On a combined basis, deliveries of the two vehicles were up 27% year over year and 9% quarter over quarter.

Tesla's announcement came after NY markets' closing time.

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In any case, we have one super happy new Model 3 owner today.

The point I'm making is that Wall Street keeps coming up with borderline nonsensical justifications for Tesla's increasingly glaring lack of a fundamental auto-industry skill: building cars at scale. By postponing production plans, the company may also defer spending, said Jeff Osborne, an analyst at Cowen & Co. who has the equivalent of a sell rating on the shares.

In other words, the days when quality control had to be ranked even someplace above first in an automaker's consideration are a relic of the 1950s, back when General Motors controlled half the United States market and owners were accustomed to cars that routinely broke down.

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