Tesla Eyes Building Model Y In 2019, But Should It?

  • Nick Jaynes has worked for more than a decade in automotive media industry. In that time, he's done it all—from public relations for Chevrolet to new-car reviews for Mashable. Nick now lives in Portland, Oregon and spends his weekends traversing off-road trails in his 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.

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If you were hoping to put a Model Y in your driveway, you might get your wish sooner than later. Tesla is reportedly aiming to produce the Model Y this year.

  • Tesla reportedly weighing building the Model Y in 2019 — two years ahead of schedule.
  • Producing it now could prove a financial boon, as it would tap into the current popularity of compact crossovers.
  • A very early production could be incredibly expensive. And, if botched, could destroy the company.

When Tesla revealed the Model Y in March, it wasn’t sure where exactly it would build the pure-electric compact crossover. That was OK, though, because it had two years before the vehicle was promised. That’s because it didn’t aim to build the Model Y until 2021.

Tesla has been eyeing pushing that timeline up a bit, though. According to CNBC report, Tesla is trying to rework its Fremont, California plant in order to produce the Model Y in 2019.

2021 Tesla Model Y white interior
Building the Tesla Model Y two years early could capitalize on the hot compact CUV market. | Photo: Tesla

 

There are two good reasons for this accelerated timeline:

  1. Compact crossovers are extremely popular right now in the U.S. and Tesla would love to capitalize on that.
  2. Tesla is in financial dire straits — so bad in fact that CEO Elon Musk is reportedly reviewing every 10th page of outgoing expense reports. So producing a potentially hot-selling new model could be a boon to the company’s badly hurt bottomline.

There is great risk in pushing up a vehicle’s production schedule by two years, more than the financial burden it places on the company. Tesla is already in a tough spot financially and it hasn’t even begun to buy the components needed to build the Model Y. So it’d have to go dangerously far into the red with the hopes that the Model Y will be such a smashing success that the gamble will pay off, as the president would say “bigly.”

Following the botched Model X launch, which was behind schedule by two years, Musk tried to accelerate Model 3 production by skipping the soft tooling stage. This lead to more than just the vehicles having to be build by hand, some of the Model 3 parts were being handcrafted on the production line, too.

So, could Tesla start building Model Y this year? Maybe. Should it? A hugely expensive botched Model Y launch could destroy the company. But you gotta go big, or go home.


About the Author

  • Nick Jaynes has worked for more than a decade in automotive media industry. In that time, he's done it all—from public relations for Chevrolet to new-car reviews for Mashable. Nick now lives in Portland, Oregon and spends his weekends traversing off-road trails in his 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.

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