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Tesla Motors dealership in Pleasanton, California. Photo: Smith Collection / Gado via Getty Images

Tesla has missed its first quarter target of producing 2,500 Model 3 vehicles a week, the company announced today, a goal it planned to hit by the end of 2017 but was delayed due to production issues. But the market viewed the number it did produce — a peak of 2,020 Model 3s a week — as a buying signal: Tesla's share price, down 27% over the last month after a series of bad news including a fatal accident, was up almost 5% in early trading.

The bottom line: If CEO Elon Musk is to persuade the market to give him more money to build out his ambitious production targets — something most analysts expect him to do, despite the company saying today it doesn't require more funding — he must both sustain this higher production, and get his flagship Model 3s up to 5,000 a week. That is precisely what the company today promised by the end of the second quarter. But skepticism among analysts is likely to persist until that number is actually reached.

By the numbers:

  • Q1 production totaled 34,494 vehicles, a 40% increase from Q4.
  • 24,728 of the total were Model S and Model X, and 9,766 were Model 3. Tesla said the Model 3 output represented a fourfold increase over Q4.
  • Tesla said they doubled the weekly Model 3 production rate "by rapidly addressing production and supply chain bottlenecks."
  • Q1 deliveries totaled 29,980 vehicles, of which 11,730 were Model S, 10,070 were Model X, and 8,180 were Model 3. 

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Health

U.S. ahead of pace on vaccines

A health care worker administers a dose of the Moderna vaccine in Ruleville, Mississippi. Photo: Rory Doyle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S. is now vaccinating an average of 2 million people a day, up from 1.3 million in early February.

Why it matters: That puts us on track to hit President Biden's goal of 100 million doses a month ahead of schedule.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Harris breaks tie as Senate proceeds with lengthy debate on COVID relief bill

Photo: Oliver Contreras/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Senate on Thursday voted 51-50 — with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie — to proceed to debate on President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package, likely setting up a final vote this weekend.

The state of play: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) is forcing the Senate clerk to read the entire 628-page bill on the floor, a procedural move that will likely add 10 hours to the 20 hours already allotted for debate.

4 hours ago - World

Netanyahu campaigns against Biden's plan to save Iran deal

Netanyahu campaigns at a gym last month. Photo: Pool/AFP via Getty

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indirectly criticized the Biden administration for its intention to return to the Iran nuclear deal and told his supporters he was prepared to "stand against the entire world" to stop it.

Why it matters: This is a major change of tune for Netanyahu, who had been careful in his statements on the Iran deal and avoided publicly criticizing President Biden. The statement was part of Netanyahu's attempt to rally his base ahead of Israel's election on March 23.