The hype around the Model 3 exists not because it's the best vehicle in Tesla's fleet, but because it represents the automaker's shift from high-tech concept auto creator to a fully-fledged automotive manufacturer. Of the last batch, 860 units were in transit to customers at the end of the fourth quarter and would be counted toward 2018 sales.
This wouldn't necessarily be a problem if Tesla was already a profitable market leader.
The stock has now plunged more than 20% from the all-time high it set past year, which means that Tesla is technically now its own little bear market.
Many analysts believed Model 3 production would ramp up significantly in the fourth quarter this year and that roughly 4100 examples would be delivered. That's on top of the 220 Model 3s the company delivered in the third quarter, for a total of just 1,770 since the first deliveries in late July. There is considerable hype and it may be impossible for Tesla to live up to it. Shares have been under pressure lately but still give the company a market value of about $53 billion, analysts say.
Update: Tesla's earnings report is out and the company manufactured 2,425 Model 3 units for the quarter, good enough for about 2716 for the year. This was a 33% increase over 2016.
Tesla has disappointed production forecasts for its new Model 3 saloon amid continuing manufacturing troubles.
Quality over volume is the "right focus" for Tesla, but it would've done better to avoid announcing "such lofty plans" for Model 3 production, Autotrader analyst Michelle Krebs said by email Wednesday. "When someone is wrong that often one must question either his honesty or his competence; personally, I question both", said Mark Spiegel of Stanphyl Capital, who is betting against Tesla by short-selling its stock. Will Tesla see 4,000 Model 3 deliveries in January? The fact that these "first-batch" cars to the public do not have these issues shows that Tesla is not just getting better at making the Model S, but better at making cars in general. In the last seven working days of December 793 Model 3 cars were produced and a production rate of 1,000 cars was reached in the last few days of December.
The company said it will "continue to focus on quality and efficiency rather than simply pushing the highest possible production in the shortest period of time". "Located by a river near the attractive Sierra Nevada mountains with wild horses roaming free". The words "do the impossible" no longer appear.
Tesla´s shares were down 2% in after hours trading on Wednesday and are around 15% below the peak of last summer.