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Tesla struggles to make 500K M3s while Ford makes 900K of just the "F" truck

Deeppurple

Member
Mar 14, 2015
110
93
Boulder
Could someone more familiar with auto production explain why is this so difficult for Tesla to reach even the 6,000 x52weeks = 312,000 of model 3s per year, while other automakers seam to have no problem with producing in larger volume?
Is it not enough employees. considering Teslas's latest move to hire more?
Not enough plant capacity or square footage?
All of the above and then some?

Ford F-series trucks are approaching the 1 million per year in sales (see figures for the past years) - there is little sight in the tunnel as our fellow rednecks "ain't buying it" and prefer to stick with greasy mobiles while supporting the unstable oil rich regimes.
 

S85D

Member
Jun 2, 2015
627
664
Austin, TX
Could someone more familiar with auto production explain why is this so difficult for Tesla to reach even the 6,000 x52weeks = 312,000 of model 3s per year, while other automakers seam to have no problem with producing in larger volume?
Is it not enough employees. considering Teslas's latest move to hire more?
Not enough plant capacity or square footage?
All of the above and then some?

Ford F-series trucks are approaching the 1 million per year in sales (see figures for the past years) - there is little sight in the tunnel as our fellow rednecks "ain't buying it" and prefer to stick with greasy mobiles while supporting the unstable oil rich regimes.

It took Chevrolet 8 months to produce Bolts at 2,000 per month. Instead of choosing a car manufacturer that has a model that has been in production for many years, it would be statistically better to choose a new model from one of the manufacturers that has been put into production the same number of months as the Tesla's Model 3.

If you are so unhappy with the way Elon runs Tesla, I would recommend that you sell your Model S and buy a Ford F-150.
 

metier

Member
Apr 5, 2016
119
71
Houston Texas
It took Chevrolet 8 months to produce Bolts at 2,000 per month. Instead of choosing a car manufacturer that has a model that has been in production for many years, it would be statistically better to choose a new model from one of the manufacturers that has been put into production the same number of months as the Tesla's Model 3.

If you are so unhappy with the way Elon runs Tesla, I would recommend that you sell your Model S and buy a Ford F-150.
The Bolt is made on the same production line as the Sonic, so it wouldn’t be hard to increase the number of Bolts. And on the flip side you can not even get a model 3 with anything other then black interior because Tesla doesn’t want to complicate the model 3’s production line.
 

abasile

TSLA shareholder
Supporting Member
Oct 21, 2012
1,654
3,504
San Bernardino Mountains, California
For ICE vehicle production, there exist well-established supply chains and each generation of vehicles builds incrementally on the previous generation.

The Model 3, by contrast, is closer to being a "clean sheet" product. There is no competing product quite like it - a mass produced, long range, road trip capable, purpose built EV that's designed to have good margins early on. Tesla is the key pioneer in this space, and the major OEMs are at best playing catch-up. Sure, there's the Bolt EV, a decent product, but it's not making money for GM aside from ZEV compliance, and its production seems to be limited by battery pack availability to significantly lower levels than the Model 3.
 

30seconds

Active Member
Feb 28, 2013
2,219
5,466
SF
Tesla makes about 5000x the volume of Fords full battery electric vehicles.

Please someone tell me why one of the largest, stick in the mud, oil burning, backwards looking companies on the the planet struggles with keeping up with a focused, cutting edge, Silicon Valley based companies lead by strong engineers.

Tesla is making a different product. Automobile manufacturers have managed to buy ICE subsystems from multiple primary suppliers. That is a model for failure when building EVs as EVs needs to be designed from the ground up to be competitive due to the changes in the power train, weight, center of gravity....

Plus Tesla is taking a fundamentally different approach to what a car’s software platform is supposed to do.

And production processes

And Autopilot

And charging networks

And overall electrical production and end user management
 
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eye.surgeon

Active Member
Nov 18, 2014
1,368
2,014
California
Tesla makes about 5000x the volume of Fords full battery electric vehicles.

Please someone tell me why one of the largest, stick in the mud, oil burning, backwards looking companies on the the planet struggles with keeping up with a focused, cutting edge, Silicon Valley based companies lead by strong engineers.

Tesla is making a different product. Automobile manufacturers have managed to buy ICE subsystems from multiple primary suppliers. That is a model for failure when building EVs as EVs needs to be designed from the ground up to be competitive due to the changes in the power train, weight, center of gravity....

Plus Tesla is taking a fundamentally different approach to what a car’s software platform is supposed to do.

And production processes

And Autopilot

And charging networks

And overall electrical production and end user management
Ford is a great company and make some fantastic cars. And they're profitable. Many of us here own Fords in addition to our Teslas. My F150 is a fantastic truck.

In answer to the OPs question, don't underestimate 100 years of experience.
 

EinSV

Active Member
Feb 6, 2016
4,331
21,540
NorCal
Ford has been building F-series pickup trucks since 1948 -- 70 years. There have been 13 generations of F-Series trucks according to Wikipedia.

For F-series trucks in the U.S., Ford has separate engine plants, transmission plants and stamping plants. It also has four F-Series assembly plants in the U.S. for the F-150 and Super Duty. List of Ford factories - Wikipedia

So Ford has a 70 year head start, in which it has built a network of production facilities. Even with that huge head start, just a few years from now Tesla will very likely be building and selling more vehicles in the 3/Y family than Ford does in the F-Series family, curently the most popular vehicle in the U.S.

And then Tesla will start to build its own pickup, which should be lots of fun.;)
 

cwerdna

Active Member
Jul 11, 2012
3,643
2,548
SF Bay Area, CA
For ICE vehicle production, there exist well-established supply chains and each generation of vehicles builds incrementally on the previous generation.
Yep. Most folks have already said it all so need to repeat it all.

Ramping up production is not as easy as turning up a dial to 10 or 11. The upstream suppliers (for everything from bolts and screws to plastic panels, switches, headlights, taillights, etc.) also need to ramp up their production as well, and they might have constraints in terms of production capacity (e.g. # of lines, amount of equipment factory space, speed of equipment and processes including quality control), staffing, hiring (where and how quickly can you hire possibly hundreds of worker (screen, interview, application, acceptance, start date, training, etc.), input parts and raw materials, etc.

What if the ramp WAY up only to have the orders fall off sharply or to have the buyer (automaker) suddenly say "stop! we don't need any more until ____"?

Only a complete car can be built and shipped to a customer if all its parts are ready and properly assembled. The part(s) that aren't ready for any reason (e.g. production bottleneck, low yields (too many defective parts), shortage of some component/input), etc. will likely hold up the entire car.

And, there's this problem: Tesla's real capacity problem: Too many people.

For background, OP might want to watch these videos, even though it's Nissan:
REPORT: Oppama Style

For every one of the processes shown and not shown, someone had to come up with the procedures, train the workers, program the robots, set up the equipment (e.g. installing correct dies for stamping, installing correct nozzles for paint robots, etc). And, all the incoming parts need to be sequenced just right to be available at the right time and place.

There needs to be the right level of quality checks and statistical process controls in place. See Door needs to be slammed to shut? on the latter, and if you don't have time to watch all of that video, just watch less of it via the time indexes suggested there.

Ford produces somewhere over 6 million vehicles/year and the other largest automakers (Toyota, VW Group, GM and Nissan-Renault Alliance) do about 10 million/year EACH. And, they've all been doing it for a VERY long time.

Every automaker has no doubt run into countless issues while producing prototypes, during pre-production and production phases. Every established automaker doing this for many decades and longer I'm sure has plenty of folks w/experience who have seen the problem before and has experience in what might work or not work to solve it.

I've (unfortunately?) never worked in the automotive industry but have taken auto plant tours of Toyota Tsutsumi, Mazda in Hiroshima, Nissan Oppama, Ford Rouge (they build the F-series truck there), NUMMI (when it was still NUMMI), BMW in Munich and Porsche in Stuttgart.
 
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ewoodrick

Well-Known Member
Apr 13, 2018
5,285
3,735
Buford, GA
As other have said, it's not a new model, it's been made for many years.
The "delay" is quite normal in any project, you've got to fine-tune to get speeds up.
From what I see, there are 3 facilities making the F-150.
If Tesla can get to the 5,000/wk that Elon wants, them that's 260,000/yr from one factory.

Add a European and Asian factory and its in the neighborhood!

Did you go to any of the Auto shows this tear? How many were showing "new" cars with anticipated delivery in 2025? Most of the other manufacturers have design cycles of 5+ years before production.
 

Deeppurple

Member
Mar 14, 2015
110
93
Boulder
Ramping up production is not as easy as turning up a dial to 10 or 11. The upstream suppliers (for everything from bolts and screws to plastic panels, switches, headlights, taillights, etc.) also need to ramp up their production as well, and they might have constraints in terms of production capacity (e.g. # of lines, amount of equipment factory space, speed of equipment and processes including quality control), staffing, hiring (where and how quickly can you hire possibly hundreds of worker (screen, interview, application, acceptance, start date, training, etc.), input parts and raw materials, etc.

What if the ramp WAY up only to have the orders fall off sharply or to have the buyer (automaker) suddenly say "stop! we don't need any more until ____"?
The suppliers had sometimes years to prepare, and I get all the answers, but most of them relate to a scenario as if no-one knew how "bad" the demand was. In reality, Tesla had over 400k reservations, everyone knew, so one would assume that the suppliers were shooting for around 500k M3s per year as well.
 
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Deeppurple

Member
Mar 14, 2015
110
93
Boulder
Ford / GM / etc are all auto parts aggregators.
Are you saying they don't actually make most of those parts? This is a good argument, but then Tesla's profit per car should be higher then the industry's averages, since Tesla would not have to spend as much on parts and would not contribute to the profit that those suppliers would make.
 
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EVie'sDad

Member
Mar 6, 2016
873
580
Newark, CA
The Bolt is made on the same production line as the Sonic, so it wouldn’t be hard to increase the number of Bolts. And on the flip side you can not even get a model 3 with anything other then black interior because Tesla doesn’t want to complicate the model 3’s production line.


Sales of bolts are down, and production is barely one quarter what tesla is making of the model 3.

Chevy Bolt EV sales slowly get back to normal – no sign of production increase
 

cwerdna

Active Member
Jul 11, 2012
3,643
2,548
SF Bay Area, CA
The suppliers had sometimes years to prepare, and I get all the answers, but most of them relate to a scenario as if no-one knew how "bad" the demand was. In reality, Tesla had over 400k reservations, everyone knew, so one would assume that the suppliers were shooting for around 500k M3s per year as well.
Tesla did a huge rush job between "pencils down" in mid-2016 and when the first "production" Model 3's shipped. And numerous major parts were replaced on "production" cars at Tesla replaces Model 3 headlights, battery, seats, and more while going through ‘production hell’.

Besides the earlier point about the reservation numbers, Elon has spouted off all sorts of timelines and missed targets numerous times all over the place. Besides reservation numbers much higher than expected, with such moving targets, how is a supplier really supposed to plan?
This is a good argument, but then Tesla's profit per car should be higher then the industry's averages, since Tesla would not have to spend as much on parts and would not contribute to the profit that those suppliers would make.
Sure, Tesla's supposed gross profit on vehicles is high but some have attributed it to them breaking out R&D and not included it in cost of automotive revenues, thus inflating their "gross profit". I haven't looked into whether it's common (as the assertion claims) that most other automakers include R&D as part of cost of automotive revenues.

As for "profit", well, Tesla has lost a net of over $4.5 billion since it started reporting publicly about $2 billion of it in 2017 alone besides accumulating over $10 billion in debt.

There are many reasons why an automaker does not necessarily want to go into making all or many of its parts. The Automotive Supply Chain, Explained – Self-Driving Cars – Medium is a good summary. It could cost MORE to produce in house than to rely on suppliers.

I found a newer copy of the top suppliers list at https://www.autonews.com/assets/PDF/CA105764617.PDF.

You also might find these interesting:
The Tesla Model S has Many Suppliers – Infographic - The Green Optimistic specifically https://www.greenoptimistic.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/tesla-info.jpg
Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Suppliers List: Who Makes A Model S Sedan?
Key Takeaways for CEOs from Tesla Model X Delays: Design for Resiliency
The Germans Are Coming for Tesla (see graph about 2/3 of the way down of the red Model S)

It most definitely makes sense to use suppliers than to engineer, validate and manufacture parts like these in house: wheels, power steering assemblies, gas springs/struts, mirrors, brake systems, glass, fabrics, hoses, gaskets, tires, windshields, etc.

Tesla doesn't even do a great job with things that should be core competencies such as drive units (look at all the DU's replaced for noise initially on Model S for years, sometimes multiple times besides the failures that are still happening). And, Elon admitted during a conference call (Tesla (TSLA) Q4 2017 Results - Earnings Call Transcript | Seeking Alpha)
Module production is fundamentally the limiting factor on Model 3 output, which is ironic since battery modules really should be the thing we're best at.

And I think in part we were probably a little over-confident, a little complacent in thinking that this is something we know and understand. And put a lot of attention on other things and just got too comfortable with our ability to do battery modules because we've been doing that since the start of the company.
 
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