Tesla Pulls Back Roadster Production Ramp Up

Back in January, Tesla Motors had plans, by most reports, to start producing 30 all-electric luxury Roadsters per week by this “spring.” Here we are on the season’s doorstep, and word has come in a newsletter from Tesla CEO Elon Musk that the startup now expects to reach that rate this summer — up from 20 cars per week now and 15 per week earlier this year.

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Summertime is also when Tesla has said the Roadster unit will become cash-flow positive, although spokesperson Rachel Konrad has previously told us the company does not expect to turn a profit in 2009. The pulled-back production schedule came in a company newsletter sent late yesterday. In a similar update last month, Musk wrote:

Moving forward two months later, we remain on track with our cost reductions and production ramp, so it appears highly likely that Tesla will meet the goal promised to those investors of becoming profitable by mid year.

Tesla still has orders on the books from approximately 1,000 customers, accounting for all Roadsters expected to roll out through October, according to Musk’s most recent email. He also noted those orders last month.

As for the Model S, the lower-cost sedan that will be unveiled in pre-production form on March 26 (the company is banking on Department of Energy funds to set up manufacturing), Musk has just revealed plans to roughly split sales between North America and Europe, at least initially. He wants to eventually expand to Asia. Of course, not even Roadsters have reached overseas markets yet (European sales are supposed to begin in mid-2009), and the DOE loans are not in hand, so those goals seem to be distant ones.

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