On the production side, Tesla is facing bottlenecks that have forced CEO Elon Musk to dial back his own mass manufacturing goals.
Tesla will start producing 2,500 Model 3s weekly by the end of the first quarter of the year, the company said in yet another update that disappointed thousands of people who have preordered the vehicle as well as investors, sending its shares down by 2 percent after hours.
The company guides a ramp to a weekly rate of "about 2,500 Model 3 vehicles" per week by the end of the quarter, but they pushed their 5,000 per week goal to "the end of Q2".
Additionally, 2,520 Model S and X vehicles and 860 Model 3 vehicles were in transit to customers at the end of the quarter, according to the company. After selecting the Model S Sedan with a 100 kWh battery, Tesla's trip planner tells me the 12-hour trip will be broken up by a 20 minute charge in Bourges, a 25 minute pit stop in Clermont-Ferrand, a 40 minute charge in Albaret-Sainte-Marie and then one last 40-minute top-up in Narbonne before hopping over the border to Barcelona. The company has also said that welding processes and final assembly tasks at its vehicle factory in Fremont, Calif., were moving more slowly than expected.
Still, Tesla managed to deliver 1,550 Model 3s in the last quarter of the year, after keeping analysts guessing for quite a while.
"Perhaps the issues that have significantly hobbled the Model 3 ramp really can be fixed in a cost-effective manner and shortly cycled past (although this did not happen in 4Q)", Brinkman said.
Tesla delivered 29,870 vehicles in the fourth quarter, a 27% increase over the same quarter in 2016 and 9% more than the third quarter. Pre-orders for the Model 3 were through the roof after the company announced the launch, reaching over half a million by July 2017-a year after the announcement.
While investors certainly won't look at another Model 3 production delay favorably, they may at the very least find solace in the fact that interest in the Model S and Model X is higher than it's ever been.
Tesla's first mass-market offering keeps encountering roadblocks.