23 July 2019
Elon Musk has defended Tesla's progress on Model 3 production, saying the output goals will be met. Photo: Reuters
Elon Musk has defended Tesla's progress on Model 3 production, saying the output goals will be met. Photo: Reuters

Tesla aims to meet Model 3 output goal; Musk stays as chairman

Tesla is “quite likely” to accomplish its goal of building 5,000 Model 3s per week by the end of June as the firm’s production lines are now demonstrating the ability to build 3,500 vehicles per week, the electric car-maker’s chief executive said on Tuesday.

“This is the most excruciating hellish several months I’ve ever had… but I think we’re getting there,” Elon Musk said during an annual shareholder meeting, Reuters reports. 

The comments came after shareholders voted against a proposal to wrest the chairman role from Musk.

Musk choked up after taking the microphone to talk about the company onstage in front of investors at the meeting in Mountain View, California, Reuters noted.

“At Tesla we build our cars with love,” Musk said. “At a lot of other companies, they’re built by marketing or the finance department and there’s no soul. We’re not perfect but we pour our heart and soul into it and we really care.”

Tesla has been struggling to ramp up production of its new Model 3 sedan, which is crucial to the company’s long-term profitability.

Manufacturing bottlenecks have delayed the delivery of vehicles to customers and deferred much-needed revenue as the company continues to spend heavily on Model 3 production fixes, as well as projects in the pipeline, the report noted.

Arguing that the sprawling company has become difficult to oversee, one investor proposed splitting the chairman and chief executive jobs, both of which Musk holds. 

Proxy firms Glass Lewis and Institutional Shareholder Services and activist investor CtW Investment Group had supported separating the chairman and CEO roles.

Tesla had recommended shareholders leave Musk with both top jobs.

On Tuesday Musk repeated his assertion that Tesla was not planning on raising additional debt or equity, and said he expects positive net income and cash flow in the third and fourth quarters.

He told investors that an announcement about a China factory would come “really soon”.

The factory would be in Shanghai, with Tesla said to be engaged in talks with the Chinese government.

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