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2018-01-04 08:15

Image: Tesla via AP

New York - Tesla Motors has again pushed back the time-frame for ramping up production of the closely-watched Model 3 vehicle, its sedan aimed at the middle market.

The electric automaker said it now expects to hit a Model 3 production level of 5000 per week by the end of the second quarter instead of at the end of the first quarter.

The first-quarter target was itself a prolongation of an earlier plan to reach this output by the end of 2017.

Production bottleneck

The company said in a securities filing: "During Q4, we made major progress addressing Model 3 production bottlenecks, with our production rate increasing significantly towards the end of the quarter. 

"In the last seven working days of the quarter, we made 793 Model 3's, and in the last few days, we hit a production rate on each of our manufacturing lines that extrapolates to over 1000 Model 3's per week.

"We expect to have a slightly more gradual ramp through Q1, likely ending the quarter at a weekly rate of about 2500 Model 3 vehicles. We intend to achieve the 5000 per week milestone by the end of Q2."

Tesla, which is led by Elon Musk, said its overall vehicles came in at 29 870 in the fourth quarter and included all-time peaks for the Model S and Model X deliveries.

However, Tesla has been under pressure to ramp up production of the Model 3, which at $35 000 could appeal to a broad market and is around half the cost of its other cars.

Tesla shares fell 2.3% in after-hours trading to $31.10.

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