Published: Thu, April 05, 2018
Finance | By Jaime Brady

Tesla (TSLA) Rating Increased to Hold at Jefferies Group

Tesla (TSLA) Rating Increased to Hold at Jefferies Group

Model 3 has been quite the hot product for Tesla, but the company has been dealing with production issues.

Elon Musk, in a testy Twitter exchange, said he is "back to sleeping at the factory" while trying to fix production delays with the Model 3 electric vehicle.

For the press release, the company produced 34,494 vehicles in total.

Musk's $50-billion dollar company, involved in a raft of projects ranging from trucks to a Roadster sports vehicle and a factory in China, said it would also churn out 2,000 of the Model 3 cars next week and promised output would climb rapidly through the second quarter. Tesla will report its earnings on or near May 2nd and be sure to look for our coverage and analysis immediately after results are in.

So with Model S and X sales down 23.3%, what was that statement from Tesla on February 21 worth? But it;s built only 12,500 of the Model 3 since production started last summer.

The electric-car maker said it made 2,020 Model 3s in the past seven days, which falls short of its weekly target of 2,500.

Despite the shortfall, Musk promised a speedy acceleration in the next three months. Share prices rose approximately 7 percent Tuesday before the opening bell.

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Tesla released its much-anticipated production numbers for the first quarter of 2018 this morning, and the results are mixed.

China's announcement adds to a tough past few weeks for chief executive Elon Musk and Tesla investors, with a string of bad news hurting the company's shares.

Analysis: Will the Model 3 make or break Tesla? Moody's downgraded its debt rating further into junk status.

Model 3 production has been rough sledding from the start, casting doubt on whether Tesla will be able to break into the mass market vehicle industry. A recent voluntary recall for the Model S associated with its steering system also didn't help. Although the expected rate deadline of Model 3 production for the first quarter has been missed - having produced only 2,020 of the affordable sedan vs. 2,500 expected - the vehicle has been reported to officially be the bestselling electric auto in the US (Electrek).

Over the weekend, billionaire multi-hyphenate Elon Musk made an April Fools' Day joke that hit a little too close to home. At the time, Musk noted the tenfold difference between the 25 percent import duties for American cars going to China, while Chinese cars coming to the USA only levied a 2.5 percent tariff. Musk said on Twitter Monday he was sleeping at the factory and called the vehicle business "hell".

Production accelerating so fast it may soon "exceed even that of Ford and the Model T". Among other things, JPMorgan is anxious about the effect further Tesla stock losses will have on the company's ability to refinance the nearly $1 billion of debt coming due in 2019.

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