Tesla Says Model 3 Remains on Schedule

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Much of Tesla Motors' (TSLA) valuation hinges on the Model 3, so any delay to when it might be introduced could be something investors want to know about it.

Except there is no delay.

A presentation given last week by J.B. Straubel, Tesla's chief technology officer and co-founder, showed that a 200-mile range electric vehicle with a $35,000 price tag was "planned for 2018."

When asked for clarification, Tesla said the 2018 comment was just a high-level look at when the car would be in full production. "Model 3 remains on schedule," a Tesla spokesperson said. "As we've stated, we plan to show Model 3 in 2016 and begin production in 2017. JB's slide is a high-level look into when Model 3 will be in full production."

On the company's first-quarter earnings call, CEO Elon Musk noted that the Model 3 would come roughly in March 2016:

"I mean, we are hoping to show off the Model 3 in approximately March of next year. Again like, don't hold me to that month, but that's like - that's our aspiration. And that's - and then be in production with Model 3 in the, I'd like to say mid, but probably closer to late 2017 timeframe. Late 2017 is probably more realistic."

Straubel also recently noted that the next generation of vehicles from Tesla would be more than just sedans -- they also would include a crossover.

A push back in the delivery date of the Model 3 would have implied that the company's operations are not where investors thought they were, when the company reported first-quarter results in May.

Production levels are getting better, as the company produced more cars in the quarter than it previously forecast, thanks to operational efficiencies. It produced more than 1,000 cars a week, up from around 750 a week as of June 2014. The company also reportedly made its first acquisition, with the Detroit Free Press reporting it has acquired Riviera Tool, a stamping company.

Tesla said it would produce about 12,500 vehicles in the second quarter, representing a 12% sequential increase, as the company continues to work on improving production.

Obviously this is not the case.

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