Recent reports have emerged that Tesla is reducing the production hours of the Model S and Model X line in the Fremont factory. The update, which appears to have negatively affected the company’s stock price, was done not long after Tesla decided to discontinue the 75D variants of its flagship full-sized sedan and premium SUV.
In a statement to Reuters, a Tesla spokesperson confirmed the Model S and X lines’ reduced production hours. The Tesla spokesperson did note, though, that the adjustment was implemented partly as a way to increase efficiencies in the vehicles’ manufacturing process. These, according to the spokesperson, would allow the company to raise its production capacity for the Model S and X in the future.
“As a result of this change and because of improving efficiencies in our production lines, we have reduced Model S and X production hours accordingly. These changes, along with continuing improvements, give us the flexibility to increase our production capacity in the future as needed,” a Tesla spokesperson wrote in an email.
Tesla’s reduction of production hours for the Model S and Model X was perceived negatively by the company’s investors. The electric car maker’s shares were already weighed down on Wednesday’s trading following a downgrade from RBC Capital Markets, but with the news of the Model S and X line’s adjusted hours, TSLA stock dipped as much 5.8%, trading at just $281.69 — its lowest intraday price since October 23.
The recent update on the Model S and X line comes at a time when the company is continuing to ramp its manufacturing capabilities for the Model 3. This year, Tesla aims to bring the Model 3 to the international markets, starting with Europe and China. At the same time, Tesla is aiming to start the production of the vehicle’s lower-priced variants, the most notable of which is the ever-elusive $35,000 Standard Range Model 3.
While easily seen as a negative sign for the company’s two flagship vehicles, the Model S and Model X’s reduced production hours could ultimately pave the way for the company to get its facilities ready for possible, upcoming major updates on the vehicles. Speculations are high that Tesla would be rolling out a revamped interior for the Model S and X soon. After all, the design of both vehicles’ interior is getting a bit long in the tooth.
Some of these possible changes have been teased in the past. A patent application Tesla filed last year, for example, described a very Model 3-esque HVAC system for a vehicle that definitely seemed to be designed for the Model S or X. Updates from Panasonic also hint at a possible update on the vehicles’ batteries, which are still using the older 18650 cells. If these speculations prove accurate, then Tesla could have a pretty good opportunity to ensure that its production lines are ready for a revamped version of the flagship sedan and SUV.
As of writing, Tesla stock (NASDAQ:TSLA) is trading -4.29% at $286.06 per share.
Disclosure: I have no ownership in shares of TSLA and have no plans to initiate any positions within 72 hours.