Tesla’s Model 3 Moment of Truth Is Here

When Tesla Inc. reports third quarter earnings Wednesday after the bell, the overwhelming focus will be on the production ramp of the Model 3—the more affordable electric car that is critical to Tesla’s mainstream success and profitability.

Almost half a million people have placed $1,000 reservations for the car, but so far, only employees and close friends of the company have gotten them. Last month, Tesla reported that it made just 260 Model 3s in the third quarter, well below the 1,500 it forecast in its August letter to shareholders. Tesla hinted at “production bottlenecks” at both its auto plant in Fremont, California, and the “Gigafactory” for battery production in Sparks, Nevada, without detailing what they are or when they will be resolved. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has said that Tesla will achieve a production tempo of 5,000 Model 3s per week by the end of the year: will he reaffirm that figure or walk it back? Wall Street, and consumers, will be watching.




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