Tesla has announced that is is temporarily halting production of its Model 3.
This news comes in light of revelations the Tesla CEO and SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s mounting stress. Tesla certainly hasn’t had an easy start to 2018 and it is remains undetermined how backing off production of the Model 3 will affect company goals and revenue.
What’s the Deal, Tesla?
The electric car manufacturer has many irons in the fire that it’s juggling. While mass-production of the Model 3 has been a definite issue, the issues stem much further back. For instance, Tesla has faced a host of other obstacles. A 123,000 car voluntary recall, the involvement of one of it’s semi-autonomous driving systems in a fatal crash, and even a reduction of the company’s credit status on Wall Street are only the surface.
As if that all wasn’t enough, a new report has emerged alleging that Tesla consistently and knowingly mislabeled and under-counted worker injuries to improve its safety record. Surely this will heavily affect Mr. Musk who has not been shy about confronting Tesla’s mistakes head on. While we’re sure he will step up to address the claims, the rising stress he is facing only stands to be compounded.
Elon Musk Takes Full Responsibility
As for the Model 3 woes, Musk has been open about Tesla’s struggles to meet production goals. In a response to a CBS story, Musk clarified his comments that the Model 3 is overly ambitious and the production process too technical. The CEO tweeted,
In light of his realization that humans are, at times, superior to robots, Musk had been working overtime (and probably still is) before the halt in production was announced. With manufacturing suspended, it’s likely that the company takes this time to make good on its promise to “improve automation and systematically address bottlenecks in order to increase production rates.”
It’s clear the production woes are deeply affecting the hands-on CEO. He admitted that Tesla had gotten complacent about its core technology, noting,
“We put too much new technology into the Model 3 all at once. This -- this should have been staged.”
An excerpt from his CBS interview with Gayle King poignantly illustrates not only the hardship Tesla is enduring, but also Elon Musk’s commitment to the venture:
Musk: "I definitely feel stress, yeah. It's like — we've been incredibly difficult and painful the last several months.”
Musk: "Absolutely, of course. Yeah, I'm sleeping on the factory floor, not because I think that's a fun place to sleep. You know. Terrible.”
King: "Sleeping on the factory floor, doing — why are you doing that?"
Musk: "Because I don't have time to go home and shower."
This certainly speaks to Musk’s dedication to the success of Tesla, later telling King, he doesn't think the CEO should not be exempt from feeling the strains or a company's hardships.
He then went on to say,
"I am personally on that line, in that machine, trying to solve problems personally where I can," Musk said at the time. "We are working seven days a week to do it. And I have personally been here on zone 2 module line at 2:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning, helping diagnose robot calibration issues. So I'm doing everything I can."
This leadership model demonstrates what Musk believes to be true -- that as CEO hiss job is to prioritize what is most critical, which right now is the Model 3 production. His willingness to “move my desk to wherever,” allows him to be on the front lines where he has repeatedly insisted he belongs.
Where Will Tesla Go From Here?
Although there is still no word on when production will resume, Tesla is taking this opportunity to reassess its automation and manufacturing processes. In fact, the timeline for the project even budgets periods of downtime. Therefore, we’re certain that production will resume at full throttle. Whether they shoot to hit the production goal of 5,000 Model 3 cars per week is currently up in the air.
What is certain is that Tesla stands much to gain with the potential success of the Model 3 as it's the company's first car geared towards the middle-class rather than ultra-luxury sectors.
We’re hoping that between Musk’s passion and dedication, and the quality of Tesla’s products, the company will ride this wave back to the top.
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