Elon Musk says Tesla will have to make 7,000 Model 3 cars a week to be profitable, and some Tesla workers will work over the holiday to achieve that.
- Tesla's Gigafactory will stay open during Thanksgiving as CEO Elon Musk attempts to ramp up production to 7,000 Model 3s a week, according to an internal email viewed by Business Insider.
- "For Thanksgiving, we will be working in Model 3 Module and Pack Production," the email said. "We're asking for volunteers to help us support these areas. Managers will follow up with each critical area to develop the volunteer list."
- A Tesla spokesperson said that the Gigafactory shifts on Thanksgiving were not added to meet production, rather, they were existing shifts. The spokesperson said that if someone assigned to a mandatory shift wanted off, they could potentially swap with a volunteer.
Tesla's Gigafactory will stay open over Thanksgiving as the company pushes to reach CEO Elon Musk's production goal of 7,000 Model 3s a week.
According to an internal email viewed by Business Insider, most Gigafactory workers will be able to observe Thanksgiving Day, but a few "mission critical areas" will remain open, meaning some employees must work.
"For Thanksgiving, we will be working in Model 3 Module and Pack Production," said the email, sent November 12. "We're asking for volunteers to help us support these areas. Managers will follow up with each critical area to develop the volunteer list."
It added: "All of our hourly and non-exempt team members who work a Tesla holiday will receive 8.0 hours of holiday pay in addition to pay for hours worked on those days. We greatly appreciate everyone who's able to help and in turn will try to make it festive and rewarding for those that volunteer."
A Tesla spokesperson said that the Gigafactory shifts on Thanksgiving were not added to meet production, rather, they were existing shifts. The spokesperson said that if someone assigned to a mandatory shift wanted off, they could potentially swap with a volunteer.
Tesla posted a profit during its third quarter, something it had done only twice since becoming a public company in 2010.
However, the company failed to reach its goal of producing 5,000 Model 3s a week. (It averaged 4,300 a week.)
Now Musk is upping the ante, in part because the company has said it will sell less expensive — and thus lower-margin — versions of the Model 3 going forward, so it needs to increase volume.
Musk has also said customers who order their vehicles before the end of November will get them before an electric-vehicle tax credit for Teslas expires at the end of the year.
In a separate email on November 15, Musk stressed how important it was for the company to continue growing production so it can maintain profitability:
It's extremely important that we achieve a 1,000+ vehicle per day rate on a sustained basis in the next few weeks, both in order to ensure new Tesla owners receive their car this year and that we achieve a financially healthy quarter.
Last quarter was great, but now we need to prove financial sustainability, which is fundamental to achieving our goal of helping the world become environmental sustainable.
Please be laser-focused on achieving a build rate of 7,000+ high-quality Model 3's per week. If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know. Note, the build rate will continue to increase in Q1, as we start shipment to Europe and Asia.
In another email to employees earlier this month, Musk said he'd be walking the entire Model 3 production line "from cells to finished vehicles" on November 27 and 28 to ensure each part is doing 50 units an hour, which would bring Tesla to 1,000 finished vehicles a day.
One Tesla worker, who spoke to Business Insider on the condition of anonymity, called the goal "hopeless" and said turnover remained high at the company.
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