Tesla Temporarily Halts Christmas Production on the Model S and X

Tesla Temporarily Halts Christmas Production on the Model S and X

Emails from Tesla CEO, Elon Musk to his employees have again made it into the public domain. Last week, Musk informed his staff at the Fremont factory in California that the production lines for Models S and X would temporarily close on December 24 and reopen on January 11, 2021.

The interim shutdown affects employees who work full-time on the Model S and X lines as they need to take off 5 unplanned, unpaid days with the option to find paid work in other departments or consider volunteering to get deliveries to customers. There has been no clarification from Tesla on why the production lines are being temporarily closed but perhaps it is simply for upgrades or maintenance.

Here’s the email sent to the Model S and X production line employees:

Subject: S/X Holiday Shutdown

Hi Team,

The SX lines will be shut down for the holidays starting Dec. 24th and returning Jan. 11th. 

We would like you to take the opportunity to refresh or spend time with your family, so Tesla will be giving you a full week pay for the week of Jan. 4th. There will also be limited paid opportunities for you to support other shops or volunteer for deliveries during some of this time.

Dec. 23rd - last day of work before shutdown
Dec. 24th-25th - Paid holidays*
Dec. 28th-30th - Unpaid time off (may use PTO**), support deliveries or other shops.
Dec. 31st-Jan. 1st - Paid Holiday*
Jan. 4th - 8th - Paid time off (40 hours)
Jan. 11th - return to work

If you would like to volunteer for deliveries for Dec. 26th -- Dec. 31st, or support other shops from Dec. 28th - Dec. 30th, please use the survey below to let us know your preference. We will do our best to accommodate your requests, but preferences are not guaranteed and will be granted on a first come first serve basis.

Luckily, the volunteer work is optional.

This last quarter, Tesla has been dealing with recalls of its vehicles in China, a safety investigation by the NHTSA, and a warranty extension for the SUV Model X and Model S sedan.

There were an estimated 15,200 of these vehicles delivered in the third quarter, which represented 11% of all vehicle deliveries in the same quarter. Perhaps with the recent issues seen with these models, a production line audit and upgrade is highly likely.

With 2021 set to add new Tesla models to production facilities, the EV company is no doubt wanting to get its assemblies making superior vehicles to avoid future quality issues. Next year, it is expected we will start seeing production of the Semi, Cybertruck, and Model S Plaid.

Then, another recent email from Musk to all Tesla employees was also leaked out where we spoke about vehicle production. The Tesla boss emphasized the importance of meeting demand, which is currently exceeding production. With the production line for the older models being shutdown it’s safe to assume the demand is not for the Model S and X, but rather focused on the Model 3 and Y.

Here’s what he had to say: 

Subject: Vehicle Production

We are fortunate to have the high class problem of demand being quite a bit higher than production this quarter.

To ensure that we have the best possible customer outcome and earn the trust of the customers and investors who have placed their faith and hard-earned money with us, we need to increase production for the remainder of the quarter as much as possible.

I would only send this note if it really mattered.

Super appreciated,

Btw, please send me a note directly if you see ways to improve output, but feel that your voice is not being heard.

Musk's management style has always been one of making himself accessible to all levels of staff. He has previously said anyone at Tesla can and should email/talk to anyone else according to what they think is the fastest way to solve a problem for the benefit of the whole company.

Whether it's talking to a manager's manager without permission, or talking directly to a VP in another dept., or talking to Elon Musk directly. His rule is simple: staff are allowed to talk to anyone without anyone else's permission to get things done efficiently. Where Tesla cannot compete with the big car companies in size, they can do so with intelligence and agility.