Tesla has paused Model 3 production for up to five days, as it seeks to improve automation processes in its Fremont, California, factory.
According to a report in BuzzFeed, the break in production came as a surprise to employees, who have allegedly been forced to use annual leave or stay home without pay.
“These periods are used to improve automation and systematically address bottlenecks in order to increase production rates,” the company said in a statement. The shutdown reportedly won’t impact Tesla’s ability to hit its target of 5000 vehicles per week by the end of June 2018.
According to emails obtained by Jalopnik, there will be another shutdown in May which, if all goes to plan, should allow the automaker to pump out 6000 Model 3s per week by the end of June.
One of the biggest changes to the production process will be a move to 24/7 work, along with plans to bring “400 people per week for several weeks” on board.
Elon Musk recently used Twitter to admit “excessive automation” at Tesla factories were harming productivity, and contributing to the brand’s widely-reported “production hell”.
Speaking of targets and production challenges, the news comes just two weeks after production figures for the first quarter of 2018 revealed Tesla had once again missed its Model 3 production goals.
Although it was “by far the most productive quarter” in the brand’s history, the best week within that period saw 2020 Model 3s roll off the production line, short of its 2500 per-week goal. Based on that result, Tesla said it expects Model 3 production to “climb rapidly” over the next three months.
There was no guarantee 5000 cars would be rolling off the production line every week by the end of June, but investor communications said the next quarter will lay the “groundwork” for the “long-sought ideal combination of high volume, good gross margin and strong positive operating cash flow”.
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