Tesla stops Model S output to prepare its factory for electric SUV production

Article by Christian Andrei, on July 23, 2014

Tesla Motors Inc. has stopped output at its Fremont site to pave for a reconfiguration of the production floor with an aim to accelerate assembly of the Model S by 25 percent and to get it ready for building electric crossovers. Vehicle assembly at the site resumes Aug. 4, Tesla spokesman Simon Sproule told Bloomberg in an interview.

He said major upgrades include modifications to the body and general assembly lines, with an overall cost of around $100 million.

Sproule said the upgrade represents the single biggest investment in the site since Tesla commenced operations, adding that the work in progress will enable the carmaker to churn out higher volumes.

He said the upgrade will allow Tesla to build Model X on the same line as the Model S. Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has remarked that he targets deliveries of at least 35,000 Model S sedans to customers around the world this year, representing a 56-percent climb over 2013.

Tesla’s global push was jumpstarted by commencement of shipments to China and the United Kingdom in the second quarter. The carmaker is set to commence deliveries to Hong Kong, Japan and Australia in the second half.

Tesla’s weekly production was pegged at nearly 700 units at the end of the first quarter. Musk said in a May 7 letter to investors the carmaker aims to produce around 1,000 units weekly later this year.

Sproule disclosed that the site’s weekly output was nearing 800 units ahead of the current project. Musk disclosed in May that upgrades at the site would idle production for around 10 days this month.

Michael Robinet, a managing director at IHS Automotive, remarked that Tesla is bent on revamping the plant as quickly as they can as it needs to produce the heavily popular vehicle, referring to the Model S.

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