The man Tesla Inc. hired three years ago to help it sort out its production problems for the Model 3 is no longer with the company, according to multiple media reports.
Peter Hochholdinger, vice president of production at its Fremont factory, joined the company in 2016 and is just the latest in a string of top-level executives who have split with the Palo Alto, California-based electric vehicle maker.
Hochholdinger, a former production executive at Volkswagen AG, was brought on to help with what CEO Elon Musk described as “production hell.” His departure was first reported by Electrek.com.
A 22-year veteran at VW, Hochholdinger supervised production of Audi A4, A5 and Q5 models. He also acted as an adviser for the German automaker at its plant in Mexico, according to Reuters.
Tesla suffered through a variety of issues when it added production of the Model 3, its mainstream vehicle considered the lynchpin to the company’s long-term success, to the already existing run of Model S and Model X vehicles.
Over time, the company instituted a variety of changes ranging from removing some of the automated equipment to adding a fourth production line under a tent to start ramping up production of the Model 3. In spite of the all the changes – and reaching record production numbers late last year – the company is still short of 10,000 sedans a week Musk said they would achieve.
This change in leadership comes at a tough time as the company is closing in production of the Model Y, Tesla’s new SUV that is expected to arrive sometime next year. The company only recently determined that the new model would be built in the Fremont, California plant where all of the other vehicles are built.
In the interim, the company reported a 31% fall in first-quarter deliveries and warned that profit would be delayed until the latter half of the year, Reuters reported. Musk noted that the company was pushing to set a new production record in the second quarter.
Wedbush analysts lowered their current quarter delivery forecast to 84,000 units from an earlier forecast of 88,000 units, adding that Tesla hitting its quarterly delivery target is an “unlikely event.”
Shares of the company, which is expected to report its second-quarter delivery and production numbers in July, were down to $218.65.