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Fear of “Manufacturing Hell” Has Investors Unplugging From Tesla

Model 3 ramp-up could prove seriously challenging, CEO Musk warns.

by on Aug.01, 2017

An SRO crowd gathers for the event marking the delivery of the first Tesla Model 3 on 7-28-17.

After spending months driving up the shares of Tesla, Inc., investors seemed ready to run on Monday after outspoken CEO Elon Musk warned that his company could face a half-year of “manufacturing hell” trying to ramp up production of the new Model 3 battery-electric sedan.

The Model 3 is Tesla’s long-awaited entry into the mainstream market, with prices ranging from around $35,000 to $60,000. The California carmaker is believed to have as many as 400,000 advance reservations. But it will face a serious challenge, Musk acknowledged, boosting production at the Tesla plant in Fremont, California to the point where it can roll out the promised 500,000 vehicles next year.

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Investors aren’t the only ones worried. A group of Tesla workers on Monday asked the company’s board to provide a plan that will, among other things, address worker safety during an aggressive ramp-up aiming to boost production almost five-fold from 2017 to 2018. Tesla has come under fire in recent months over allegations of unusually high injury rates at the suburban San Francisco plant.

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