Tesla hits Model 3 production target, but shares turn lower

3 sedan is displayed during its launch in Hawthorne

Its Model 3s are the least expensive cars it has ever made - the lowest promised price is $35,000, although the versions that have been delivered to customers so far have cost about $50,000 or more - and are considered crucial to the company's success.

Tesla has reached the production target for its Model 3 vehicle, according to a regulatory filing published on Monday (2 July).

Tesla said it produced 53,339 vehicles during the second quarter, an increase of 55 percent from the prior period. The company would not comment on whether it planned to name a replacement for Field, who was the most senior engineer at Tesla besides JB Straubel, the company's co-founder and chief technical officer, and Musk.

Becoming cash flow positive is the next critical step in Musk's goal to make Tesla profitable. The production numbers came out to 28,578 Model 3 sedans - triple from the previous quarter - and 24,761 Model S and Model X cars combined.

Also on Monday, Bloomberg reported that Tesla is taking a break from Model 3 production until Thursday to perform basic line maintenance.

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The company this week said: "The last 12 months were some of the most hard in Tesla's history, and we are incredibly proud of the whole Tesla team".

Tesla plans to continue ramping up Model 3 output volume, however, with a forecasted increase to 6,000/wk by late next month. Since its IPO eight years ago , Tesla has posted just two profitable quarters .

Field was hired away from Apple as a Mac hardware engineer to join Tesla.

"The problem is that Tesla appears to be good at "burst" rates but it needs to attain consistency, which will come, but my forecast is that they will sell just over 100,000 Model 3s this year in the United States", analyst Alan Baum told Forbes.

Doug Field, Tesla's head of engineering, won't return to the company after a taking a leave of absence, The Wall Street Journal reports. He also worked for both Segway and Ford.

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