With just a couple of weeks left in Tesla ‘s (NASDAQ: TSLA) initial quarter, time is working out for the electric powered-car enterprise to stick to by way of on its bold production goal for the interval. In its fourth-quarter shareholder letter, Tesla claimed it was on observe to strike a production fee for Product 3 of 2,500 units for each week by the stop of the initial quarter.

As Tesla tries to speedily ramp-up production and make a dent in the hundreds of thousands of reservations it has garnered for Product 3, reaching this milestone is crucial. Can Tesla pull it off?

A Model 3 driving on an open road

Product 3. Image source: Tesla.

Pausing production

Up until finally lately, it was starting to appear like Tesla could strike its ambitious weekly production goal by the stop of the quarter. But when the pace of Product 3 deliveries seemed to slow a couple of weeks in the past, there was issue that the enterprise was working into to some unpredicted production bottlenecks. Luckily, the pullback turned out to be very little a lot more than a prepared pause in production involving February twenty and February 24 as the enterprise put in a lot more automation on the assembly line. Tesla stock rallied about six% on Monday as traders breathed a sigh of relief.

“Our Product 3 production prepare consists of intervals of prepared downtime in the two Fremont and Gigafactory one,” Tesla claimed in a assertion to Bloomberg more than the weekend. “These intervals are used to increase automation and systematically handle bottlenecks in purchase to maximize production fees. This is not abnormal and is in truth widespread in production ramps like this.”

Tesla has applied comparable production pauses in the course of ramp-up phases in the past. A person illustration is when Tesla applied a two-week pause  in the middle of 2014 at its manufacturing unit in Fremont to accelerate Product S production and put in some of the preliminary Product X production products. Immediately after this pause, Product S deliveries increased from about fourteen,000 units in the initial fifty percent of 2014 to 18,000 in the 2nd fifty percent of the calendar year.

In purchase for Tesla to strike its Product 3 production targets, production needs to be expanding exponentially at this stage. So, traders must hope the production pause pays off in a major maximize in ability.

Tesla needs to demonstrate by itself

So much, Tesla has built a habit of missing its crucial Product 3 production targets. The enterprise was in the beginning aiming to exit 2017 at a production fee of five,000 Product 3s for each week, but Tesla then delayed this goal to the stop of Q1, adopted by another delay to the stop of Q2.

Tesla vehicle production at its Fremont factory

Tesla’s Fremont manufacturing unit. Image source: author.

Immediately after acknowledging its problems so much at hitting targets for the Product 3 production ramp, Tesla tried to reassure traders in its fourth-quarter shareholder letter:

What we can say with self-assurance is that we are taking quite a few actions to systematically handle bottlenecks and insert ability in places like the battery module line the place we have knowledgeable constraints, and these actions must final result in our production fee drastically increasing in the course of the rest of Q1 and by way of Q2.

Tesla has its get the job done lower out for it in purchase to get to a weekly production fee of 2,500 units by the stop of Q1 and five,000 units by the stop of Q2. In the fourth quarter of 2017, Tesla only produced about 2,four hundred Product 3 units.

The tension is on for Tesla to stick to by way of with its ambitious Product 3 production ramp — not just mainly because management established community targets, but also mainly because traders have presently priced in a rosy future for the enterprise. Tesla’s $58 billion market capitalization will only make sense if the electric powered-car enterprise can turn out to be a mass-market vehicle enterprise.

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Daniel Sparks owns shares of Tesla. The Motley Idiot owns shares of and recommends Tesla. The Motley Idiot has a disclosure plan .

The sights and opinions expressed herein are the sights and opinions of the author and do not always mirror individuals of Nasdaq, Inc.

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