Tesla Misses Model 3 Production Target for First Quarter

In its Q1 report, Tesla touted it had “by far the most productive quarter” in its history. While that may be true, the automaker failed to meet its goal of making 2,500 copies of the Model 3 per week by the end of the quarter.

Tesla said it built 2,020 copies of the Model 3 in the past seven days. In the next seven days, Tesla only plans to make 2,000 copies. Although it ended up behind schedule, Tesla says it was able to double the weekly production rate of the Model 3 throughout the quarter by addressing bottlenecks, which involved temporarily shutting down factories to upgrade equipment.

Tesla says Model 3 production will “climb rapidly” in the coming three months. It’s sticking with its plan to make about 5,000 units a week by the conclusion of the second quarter. Then, Tesla expects things to really start picking up in the third quarter, when we should see high volumes, solid gross margin, and strong positive operating cash flow. Given Tesla’s history, we’ll believe it when we see it.

Tesla produced a total of 34,494 vehicles in the first quarter, breaking its record by a large margin, and 9,766 of these vehicles were the Model 3 sedan. The automaker says the entry-level model experienced a fourfold increase in output compared to the previous quarter.

“This is the fastest growth of any automotive company in the modern era,” Tesla says in the Q1 production and deliveries report. “If this rate of growth continues, it will exceed even that of Ford and the Model T.” Tesla also says the number of Model 3 reservations remained stable in the first quarter.

Amid slowdowns in Model 3 production, Tesla has seen its shares drop almost 18 percent since the beginning of the year. With news of the Q1 results, Tesla shares increased nearly 7 percent early Tuesday before leveling off at around a 3.4-percent increase, reports CNBC.

Despite what some experts have been predicting, Tesla says it will not need an equity or debt raise this year other than standard credit lines.

Mainstream vs. Luxury Afterword: You Get What You Pay for…Sometimes

When we were assembling the field for this four-test shootout, a representative of a luxury automaker expressed concern that we were creating a straw man scenario—in other words, we were making a testing paradigm that would set up the luxury brands to fail.

With cross-our-heart promises that no such agenda was in play, we set out to see if mainstream automakers could play in the luxury sandbox or whether luxury brands could move downmarket and conquest folks with Maserati tastes but Mazda budgets.

As you can see from the previous pages, mainstream vehicles won the overall battle, 3–1. But two of those mainstream-brand victories were by the narrowest of margins—and, depending on one’s list of wants and needs, could have swung
the other way.

For Motor Trend, our wish list for a luxury vehicle (or a vehicle priced to compete against one) is that it comes with requisite performance credentials, a comfortable ride, interior refinement, elegance of fit and finish, and a certain flair one would associate with a premium vehicle.

Several things we learned in our price-sensitive testing:

Luxury vehicles tend to value tactile and sensory elements, whether it be the effectiveness of sound-deadening materials; the action of the switches, dials, and buttons; or the overall look and feel of the vehicle design. You also get white-glove treatment at the dealership. It is the cost of entry.

However, when having to cut costs to reach a lower entry price point, the luxury brands often fall a bit short. The deletion or decontenting of items can result in frustrating compromises for someone hoping to get a steal on a base-model luxury car. It might be a tinnier stereo, cheaper leather, or a depowered engine. You get the classy badge, but you might have to bust out your wallet to add some options packages to see what all the fuss is about. And in the long term, maintenance costs tend to be pricier.

The flip side is that mainstream brands can aspire to compete against luxury models, but often times the underpinnings (which have to be priced to be affordable at much cheaper trim levels) show their proletarian roots. It might be louder inside the cabin. The ride might be choppier. And when you load up a mainstream model, a better deal might be found at the neighboring luxury dealer.

The only luxury vehicle in our tests that truly represented the upscale look and feel you would expect was the Volvo XC60. Then again, we bent the rules and allowed a pricier model to compete. Give any of these candidates another $4,000 to play with, and they would have likely shown stronger, as well.

That said, certain automakers execute the luxury premise better than others. Our testers rated the XC60 and Honda Accord as the two best vehicles of the field of eight, regardless of price.

There’s no fixed formula. Luxury can be worth it, but often it’s not if you scrimp. And although some mainstream brands aspire to create a premium experience, they can’t all fulfill the promise. There’s no substitute for actually sitting in the driver’s seat.

Tesla Misses Model 3 Production Target for First Quarter

In its Q1 report, Tesla touted it had “by far the most productive quarter” in its history. While that may be true, the automaker failed to meet its goal of making 2,500 copies of the Model 3 per week by the end of the quarter.

Tesla said it built 2,020 copies of the Model 3 in the past seven days. In the next seven days, Tesla only plans to make 2,000 copies. Although it ended up behind schedule, Tesla says it was able to double the weekly production rate of the Model 3 throughout the quarter by addressing bottlenecks, which involved temporarily shutting down factories to upgrade equipment.

Tesla says Model 3 production will “climb rapidly” in the coming three months. It’s sticking with its plan to make about 5,000 units a week by the conclusion of the second quarter. Then, Tesla expects things to really start picking up in the third quarter, when we should see high volumes, solid gross margin, and strong positive operating cash flow. Given Tesla’s history, we’ll believe it when we see it.

Tesla produced a total of 34,494 vehicles in the first quarter, breaking its record by a large margin, and 9,766 of these vehicles were the Model 3 sedan. The automaker says the entry-level model experienced a fourfold increase in output compared to the previous quarter.

 

“This is the fastest growth of any automotive company in the modern era,” Tesla says in the Q1 production and deliveries report. “If this rate of growth continues, it will exceed even that of Ford and the Model T.” Tesla also says the number of Model 3 reservations remained stable in the first quarter.

Amid slowdowns in Model 3 production, Tesla has seen its shares drop almost 18 percent since the beginning of the year. With news of the Q1 results, Tesla shares increased nearly 7 percent early Tuesday before leveling off at around a 3.4-percent increase, reports CNBC.

Despite what some experts have been predicting, Tesla says it will not need an equity or debt raise this year other than standard credit lines.

Report: New Ford Focus RS to Make 400 HP, Use Mild Hybrid System

Ford is gearing up to introduce a new generation of the Focus, and that lineup will include a more powerful Focus RS, according to a report from Autocar.

The hot hatch, arriving for 2020, will supposedly produce more than 400 hp. That’s a considerable upgrade from the standard 350 hp, or 370 hp when paired with Mountune upgrades. In addition to the current 2.3-liter turbo-four, the new model should also use a new 48-volt mild hybrid system to reduce emissions and boost power.

The 48-volt integrated starter/generator could contribute 60-70 lb-ft of torque, Autocar says. In total, torque for the new model should come in around 425 lb-ft. The increased output should improve acceleration times. We last tested a Focus RS with 350 hp hitting 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. The RS has traditionally featured a six-speed manual, but it’s possible the new model could offer a dual-clutch transmission to meet demand for automatics in China and the U.S.

When it comes to the standard Focus, we expect the new model will move upmarket. It will also likely grow in size compared to its predecessor, allowing for more passenger and cargo room.

Expect hybrid technology to proliferate throughout the Ford lineup. Ford is cutting its capital expenditures in internal combustion vehicles by one-third, investing that money instead in electrified vehicles. Some of these models will include the F-150 Hybrid, Mustang Hybrid, a battery electric small SUV, and an autonomous vehicle with a hybrid powertrain.

Shares of Citi and Wells Fargo rise after UBS upgrades both to buy

Shares of Citigroup and Wells Fargo rose Thursday after an analyst at UBS upgraded both stocks to buy.

Citigroup’s stock was up 1.1 percent, while Wells Fargo gained by 0.9 percent.

UBS changed its rating on Wells Fargo from neutral to buy but lowered its price target from to $60 from $63. The new target is 12 percent higher than Thursday’s price, around $53.50.

Shares of Wells Fargo took a hit last year after revelations of the bank’s cross-selling program. Bank employees were pushed to sell as many products as possible, and opened accounts in customers’ names without their permission to hit sales targets. The bank reached a $190 million settlement with U.S. authorities in 2016, and CEO John Stumpf was forced to resign.

The UBS analyst acknowledged the challenges of overcoming the hit to Wells Fargo’s reputation and its regulatory hurdles but said shares are trading at “historically wide PE discounts” compared to other large cap regional banks.

“Wells Fargo’s substantial underperformance has created a buying opportunity,” Saul Martinez wrote in a note to clients Thursday. “Wells Fargo shares have lagged the average bank in our coverage universe by a substantial 49 percentage points.”

UBS also upgraded Citigroup to buy from neutral, and increased its price target to $80 from $78.

The bank trades at a discount to other large banks, including J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank of America. The analyst cited the profitability of its global consumer banking operation, improved loan growth and earnings momentum at Citibanamex, its Mexican operation, among the reasons for optimism.

“We do not believe that the current share price adequately captures incremental improvements in operating and financial performance in the coming years and still considerable capital optimization opportunities,” Martinez said.

2018 Lamborghini Huracán Performante Put to the Test on Ignition

Get ready to go fast—really, really fast. On this new episode of Ignition presented by Tire Rack, raging bull believer Jonny Lieberman sets out to convince doubting Jethro Bovingdon that the wind-cheating Huracán Performante really is as good as Lamborghini says it is.

Remember, Lambo showed the world a Nürburgring lap time of 6:52.01, at the time a record-breaking run that was 4.99 seconds quicker than the Porsche 918 Spyder.

The plan is of course to hand the Performante over to pro driver Randy Pobst, the man who set the Big Willow lap record of 1:23.54, to see what he can make of the bright green beastie.

If the Performante can beat the 918 on Big Willow, then surely that would verify it did the deed on the ’Ring. However, before they get to the track, Bovingdon and Lieberman have a little driving to do themselves.

 

Does the Performante do the numbers? Watch and find on the 190th episode of Ignition live now on Motor Trend OnDemand.

Mario Batali said to be ‘actively exploring’ ideas for next venture

Mario Batali has remained largely absent from the public eye since December, after stating that he would be stepping away “from the day-to-day operations” of his restaurant group amid accusations of sexual misconduct.

As early as February, however, the celebrity chef is said to have been “actively exploring” ideas to resurrect his image and career, according to a recent report in The New York Times.

Batali, who was accused of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior by several former employees and colleagues within the restaurant industry, has reportedly been seeking counsel on a possible comeback, reaching out to friends for advice in a series of meetings.

His options, according to the Times, are not necessarily confined to becoming a foodie personality once again, or continuing on as a restaurateur. In fact, he’s currently in the process of divesting from his former restaurant group, the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group, in a “complex,” albeit amicable, buyout.

“The process of his divestiture is going really well considering how complex it is,” Joe Bastianich, Batali’s former business partner, told the Times. “The real point of beginning will be when he departs from the company. That’s ground zero.”

Batali’s business partner, Joe Bastianich, is currently working with Batali to arrange a buyout of their restaurant group.  (YouTube)

Batali, 57, declined to discuss his next move with the Times, but the report suggests that he may seek to start an entirely new female-led company with Federica Marchionni, the former president of Dolce & Gabbana. On the other hand, he might instead focus his efforts on starting a program to help displaced Rwandans re-acclimate to their home country, the report says.

Friends and advisors of Batali’s, including former Bon Appetit and Times editor Christine Muhlke and former NYC mayoral candidate Christine C. Quinn, have reportedly urged him to hand over control of his next venture to up-and-comers who will lead the business away from scandal.

Muhlke even told the Times that chefs in Batali’s position should “leave the field” entirely and let consultants “do the work needed to build something better.”

“My advice to these chefs and restaurateurs is that this is not a scandal, this is a paradigm shift,” she said. “The old ‘wait it out and return appearing humbled’ prescription no longer applies.”

Celebrity chef Mario Batali steps away from his restaurant empire and has been removed from co-hosting duties on ABC's "The Chew" following sexual misconduct allegations by four women.

Batali himself announced he would be stepping away from the “day-to-day operations” of his entire restaurant group in early December, following a report in Eater detailing multiple allegations of sexual harassment. Additional accusations of inappropriate behavior surfaced in the following weeks, including accounts from a former Del Posto hostess who said Batali touched her breasts, and that of a former manager at celebrity hot-spot The Spotted Pig who claimed to have seen Batali grope and kiss a woman who appeared unconscious.

Amid the accusations, ABC relieved Batali of his co-hosting duties on ABC’s “The Chew,” and a revival of his “Molto Mario” series on the Food Network was canceled.

McDonald’s patron barricades himself in bathroom, rips urinal off wall during police standoff

A man was taken into police custody at a McDonald’s near Atlanta, Ga. after barricading himself in the bathroom Tuesday.

Derrick Hall, 36, caused a standoff with police and a SWAT team at a Gwinnett County location of the fast-food chain, after employees reported he had a knife and was possibly doing drugs, according to Fox 5.

Officers tried to get Hall to surrender peacefully but were unsuccessful. He began threatening the authorities and trashing the bathroom, pulling a urinal off the wall and breaking a water pipe. Hall is also accused of swinging his knife at the police.

Authorities took out warrants for Hall on terrorist threats and criminal trespass, and the SWAT team had to deploy gas inside the restaurant to remove him. After being evaluated at the hospital, he was taken to the local jail, Fox 5 reported. No one was injured during the standoff.

This is the second time an incident has occurred at a McDonald’s in the Atlanta area in the last week. A DeKalb County McDonald’s was forced to close after someone tossed a smoke grenade through the drive-thru window Monday night. After paying for their food, the suspect threw the device into the restaurant and drove off.

Woman’s $400G lawsuit claims ‘cover-up’ of mouse guts allegedly found in soup

An Oregon woman filed a lawsuit Monday, claiming she found mouse guts in a carton of Pacific Foods soup.

An Oregon woman sued a food company this week, claiming it swept aside her complaints of allegedly finding what appeared to be mouse remains in a carton of soup.

Maesel Dorn, 72, claims in the $400,000 lawsuit filed against Pacific Foods that she fell violently ill after eating the company’s organic roasted red pepper tomato soup, which she purchased in January.

Dorn told the Oregonian she became so sick after eating the soup that she hallucinated. She claimed to have never been that sick before in her life.

She says she regained her appetite a couple of days later and tried the soup again, the court documents said. She claims she then poured herself a cup, and what appeared to be rodent intestines and other rodent parts fell out of the carton.

“I was just shocked more than anything,” Dorn told the paper. “I kept looking at it, and I couldn’t believe it. … And then, it was just so sickening. I haven’t been able to eat any soup since then.”

The suit claims Dorn made several calls to Pacific Foods, and an employee told her to bring the carton and mouse parts to the store where she purchased it and someone would pick it up for testing.

Dorn, a retired registered nurse, said she repeatedly called the company to check on the results, but was told they weren’t in yet.

“(I)t was just so sickening. I haven’t been able to eat any soup since then.”

– Maesel Dorn, plaintiff in lawsuit against Pacific Foods

According to the suit, Pacific Foods told Dorn on March 29 — more than two months after the discovery — that it had never received the soup container. Dorn told the Oregonian that an employee with the company claimed the carton was never brought to the store, “so we didn’t have anything to test. Sorry, case closed.”

Dorn then sued the company, accusing it of negligence and of attempting to “cover up” what she found.

A Pacific Foods spokesman told Fox12 Oregon that it doesn’t comment on pending litigation, but takes all customer complaints seriously.

“We can say that our utmost priority is ensuring the safety and integrity of our products,” he said.

Mom claims McDonald’s ‘victimized’ her with bathroom breastfeeding ban

A new mom was left in tears after she was banned from breastfeeding her baby in McDonald’s — and told to take the tot into a public toilet.

Christine Wilson, 22, had gone into the fast-food restaurant in order to discreetly feed her 7-month-old son Brooklyn when he started to cry. But she was ordered out by a staff member, who told her the only place she could breastfeed was in the shopping center’s public bathrooms.

Christine has blasted staff and says she felt “victimized” by the incident which happened in the West Orchards Shopping Centre in Coventry, England on March 29

“I feel scared to go out on my own with little Brooklyn now — I’m a young mom and feel very vulnerable whenever I have to breastfeed in public,” said the young woman from Canley, Coventry.

swns

“Over the last few months, I’ve had really problems feeding in public. I’ve had all sorts of comments from passersby. It really affects your confidence.”  (SWNS)

“Over the last few months, I’ve had really problems feeding in public. I’ve had all sorts of comments from passersby, telling me to cover up, calling me vile and saying I’m a bad mum. It really affects your confidence, especially when it’s your first child.”

“I was doing some shopping on the day in question, and wanted to go and have a bite to eat in McDonald’s. As soon as I walked in, Brooklyn started crying his eyes out, he was desperate to be fed. I went up to a member of staff and asked where I could go to feed him. I was told the only place that I could go was the shopping center toilets — it was horrific.

“Who in their right mind is going to feed their young child on the toilet? It’s so unsanitary. I went to the fifth floor to speak to management, and explained my situation to them. Again, the response was that I had to go to the toilets and be discreet about it.

“I asked him how he would feel about eating food whilst sitting on the toilets, and he said that would be disgusting – even though that’s effectively what he was telling my son to do. As I left the office, there was a woman on reception who was looking right at me, and started laughing. The whole experience left me feeling incredibly embarrassed and victimized.

“In the end, I had to feed him on a spare table by the escalators, which was utterly humiliating. My confidence had been shattered in the first place, but to have to sit there as people went up and down, staring at me, was horrific. I came home in a flood of tears, and had to finish feeding Brooklyn back at home.

“I’ve not been back to the shopping center since, and I can’t see why I would do. I take Brooklyn everywhere with me, so if there’s nowhere to feed him then it’s just going to make life a nightmare. I find it baffling, because recently the shopping center has been renovated.”

“It’s 2018, so the fact that they haven’t thought of installing a discreet breastfeeding area is baffling.”

A spokesperson for McDonald’s said: “As a family restaurant we aim to create an atmosphere in which anyone breastfeeding feels comfortable, and customers are welcome to breastfeed in our dining areas.

“If someone wants a more private area then we suggest that they speak to our team who will see what they can do to help.”

A spokesman for West Orchards said: “The lady managed to speak to the Duty Manager on the day who logged her complaint and explained the situation. West Orchards indeed has a breastfeeding area, which is completely private and available to customers in the location of the ladies toilets on level 2. As a center, we welcome breastfeeding mums and have absolutely no issues with those who choose to breastfeed outside the dedicated area.

“The center offers a number of locations where a new mum can sit down and breastfeed her child. However, the seating in Canteen belongs to each individual operator who has their own policies so it’s always best to check in advance.”