Elon Musk's efforts to streamline production at Tesla have gotten down to the paintwork.
The electric-car maker will ditch two of seven colors offered to buyers on Wednesday to simplify manufacturing, Musk, Tesla Inc.'s CEO, said in a tweet. Obsidian Black and Metallic Silver will only be available as a special request and will cost more, he said.
The company, based in Palo Alto, California, has struggled to vault from a niche maker of expensive electric cars into a mass-market automaker. It missed several deadlines to produce 5,000 of its mass-market Model 3 cars per week but reached that milestone earlier this summer. Musk has promised that as it sells more Model 3s the company will turn a sustained net profit starting this quarter.
A Tesla spokesman said dropping the paint colours is not an indication of any production problems. "We occasionally adjust pricing and available options to best reflect the value of our products and to streamline our manufacturing operations," the company said in a statement.
Customers should check for current pricing and packaging options on Tesla's website, the statement said.
The announcement follows a chaotic week for Tesla in which Musk lost his chief accounting officer after less than a month on the job, then smoked marijuana during a late-night podcast hosted by a California comedian. Musk's recent "erratic behaviour," including the online appearance and comments to the press and analysts, prompted analysts at Nomura Instinet on Tuesday to lower their recommendation to neutral from buy until they see what happens with management.
In a blog post dated Sept. 7, Musk said Tesla is about to build and deliver more than twice as many cars as it did last quarter, without being specific about whether the company would accomplish this feat in the third or fourth quarter. During the three months that ended in June, Tesla produced 53,339 vehicles and delivered 40,740.
The only forecast Tesla had given previously for the third quarter was that it would produce 50,000 to 55,000 Model 3s.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.