Let's go for a walk through hell, shall we?
Despite it being probably the most heavily scrutinized companies on the planet, the windows into Tesla are rather opaque. Sure, we see official production numbers every quarter and sit in on the automaker's call with analysts (we're looking very much forward to its upcoming Q2 call after the last quarterly conversation featured lots of fireworks and talk of flufferbots). Sometimes we even get mini factory tours and interviews like the recent 8-part production by CBS This Morning. Still, there's a lot to the story that often goes unseen and untold.
Last week, Bloomberg published a lengthy feature appropriately titled "Hell for Elon Musk Is a Midsize Sedan," which offered a fair amount of insight into the California company's struggle to build the Tesla Model 3. If you haven't read it yet, we suggest you check it out at your earliest convenience, along with the accompanying one-on-one interview conducted by the publication's senior transportation reporter Tom Randall.
If you want a preview of that piece, watch the video above. In it, Randall talks about why and how Tesla struggled with building the Model 3 en masse. The story really starts to take shape when the numbers of reservation came in, doubling the most outrageous internal estimates. This led to a rethink of how they would approach production. CEO Elon Musk took the unusual step of tasking the engineers who designed the car to then design the "machine that builds the machine."
As we've seen, success was not as forthcoming as had been hoped. Despite being told by outsiders that their approach wouldn't work, Musk, whose heard those words repeatedly ever since he co-founded the company, moved forward with his vision, making lots of mistakes along the way. It can be argued that these mistakes will eventually lead to improved manufacturing processes, and they may. But, they also turned up the heat in what was already termed "production hell."
With its internal goal of 5,000 Model 3 sedans produced in one week of burst building met, followed by a few days off to collect themselves, the Tesla team is now moving forward toward its next goal: financial profitability. If there was a benefit to the hellish path that got them to where they are now, it should become more clear in the next few months.
Source: YouTube, Bloomberg