Since then, Tesla has dealt with highly publicized Model 3 production "bottlenecks" and delivered a paltry number of vehicles well below its targets, issued a recall, and fired hundreds of employees (which spawned a lawsuit).
Tesla, led by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Elon Musk, said it now expects to build 5,000 Model 3s per week by late in the first quarter of 2018 from its original target date of December.
And the problems will continue.
Meanwhile, the production ramp-up has been expensive, pushing Tesla to its worst-ever quarterly loss in the third quarter, at $619 million.
"Tesla is learning what traditional automakers have long known mass vehicle assembly is complicated and expensive", said Michelle Krebs, a senior analyst at Autotrader.com. The insurer reported a net loss of $87 million, or 8 cents a share, in the quarter to September 30, after net income of $571 million, or 51 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Still, there's evidence that Tesla is very far from that goal: The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Model 3's were being "banged out by hand".
Even that timeline means Tesla has to scale back in other areas. Evercore ISI decreased their target price on shares of Tesla from $330.00 to $312.00 and set an outperform rating for the company in a research note on Sunday. The company opened 18 stores and service stations worldwide during the quarter, and set up 126 new Supercharger stations to try to prepare for the increase in demand from Model 3 buyers.
Still, the company said the Model 3 would overcome those challenges and hit a breakeven point in gross profit margin by the fourth quarter of 2018.
Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) says it delivered 25,915 Model S and Model X vehicles and 222 Model 3 vehicles in Q3 for a total deliveries tally of 26,137 vehicles. Tesla is betting its first mass-market auto will elevate it to become the first automaker to join America's famous "Big 3" in more than 50 years. Consequently, both Model S and Model X gained further market share in the United States luxury vehicle market.
The acknowledgment came as Tesla reported third-quarter revenue of $2.98 billion, up 29.9% from a year earlier. The Company operates through two segments: Automotive, and Energy generation and storage.
Tesla shares dropped by as much as 5.4% on the news in after-hours trading, before recovering slightly.