Elon Musk e-mails Tesla employees urging 'radical improvements' to hit quarterly targets

Key Points
  • Elon Musk e-mailed all Tesla employees on Friday night congratulating them on progress manufacturing Model 3s, but called for "radical improvements" in the next two weeks.
  • Tesla is trying to hit a weekly Model 3 production rate of 5,000 cars by the end of this month.
  • In May, the Model 3 became the best selling mid-sized premium sedan in the U.S.
Elon Musk, co-founder and chief executive officer of Tesla Inc.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

An e-mail sent to all Tesla staff from Elon Musk on Friday night congratulated employees for the progress they've made on Model 3 vehicle production recently — but also said "radical improvements" are still needed in manufacturing to hit the company's quarterly targets.

During the company's annual shareholders' meeting earlier this month, Musk said it is "quite likely" Tesla will hit a weekly Model 3 production rate of 5,000 cars "by the end of this month."

Shortly thereafter, Tesla embarked on a broad restructuring. The company is cutting at least 9 percent of its workforce, but not employees involved in Model 3 production.

Tesla's earnings were better than expected, but Elon Musk still has a lot on his plate

Many investors have faith in Musk's vision. Although Tesla has repeatedly set and missed production and delivery goals for the Model 3, the stock has trended higher since the shareholders' meeting. It even trended 4.5 percent higher through the week after Tesla announced layoffs on Tuesday June 12th.

This week, Elon Musk bought around 72,000 Tesla shares, spending nearly $25 million to do so. His purchase appears to have helped propel shares up from a closing price of $342.77 on Tuesday to a closing price of $358.17 on Friday.

In May, the all-electric Model 3 became the best selling mid-sized premium sedan in the U.S.

At the same time, Tesla remains one of the most shorted stocks on the market. Bears say the company needs -- but can't raise -- billions in new capital to hit its goals.

Below is Elon Musk's Friday night e-mail in its entirety, shared with CNBC by a current Tesla employee. (The note references the GA3, GA4, and EoL -- these are general assembly lines and end of line areas within the company's Fremont plant. It also references a man named Omead, presumably Omead Afshar, a project manager in the office of the CEO at Tesla.)

From: Elon Musk

To: Everybody

Subj. Only 8 days left to reach 700 cars/day or 5k/week

June 15, 2018

8:27 pm

It's getting very exciting! All parts of the Model 3 production system are now above 500 and some are almost at 700 cars already. Congratulations to all on making so much progress!

That said, radical improvements are still needed in paint shop output, GA3, bringing up the new GA4, End of Line and Module Zone 4 at Giga. We also need to achieve sustained, 700+ per week on the body line.

Wherever you are in the company, if you feel you can help out in any of those areas, please check in with Jat Dhillon on GA3, Jerome Guillen on GA4 and Omead on EoL and JB Straubel or Christ Lister on Module Zone 4.

I will be at our Fremont factory almost 24/7 for the next several days checking in with those groups to make sure they have as many resources as they can handle.


Representatives at Tesla declined CNBC's request for further comment.