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永远在路上的特斯拉产能雄心
Tesla risks being overtaken by the competition

来源:FT中文网    2017-11-13 07:17



        This was supposed to be Tesla’s moment of triumph. The California electric car company had confidently predicted it would be pumping out 5,000 of its mass market Model 3 vehicles each week by the end of 2017. That volume would allow it to move out of its high-end niche and compete head to head with traditional automakers.        眼下本应是特斯拉(Tesla)的胜利时刻。这家加州电动车公司曾自信地预言,到2017年底每周将下线5000辆面向大众市场的Model 3型电动车。这样的产量将使特斯拉走出高端市场,与传统汽车制造商展开直接竞争。
        Instead, Tesla has been beset by a series of production snags — some workers are having to build battery packs by hand, parts have been delayed because of late design changes, and production lines are frequently halted for quality inspections. As a result, it was only able to produce 260 Model 3 vehicles in the third quarter, and has pushed back its 5,000 car per week goal to the end of March. The company also reported a bigger than expected third-quarter loss.        现实是,特斯拉受到一系列生产问题的困扰——部分工人不得不手工组装电池组,部件因后期设计更改而延迟供货,生产线经常因质量检查而停工。其结果是,该公司第三季度每周只能生产260辆Model 3,并已将每周5000辆的目标推迟至明年3月底。该公司还报告了大于预期的第三季度亏损。
        Tesla insists that these are merely teething problems as it remakes car manufacturing from the ground up. “There are no fundamental issues with Model 3 production or its supply chain, and we are confident in addressing the manufacturing bottleneck issues in the near-term,” a spokesman said.        特斯拉坚称,这些只是该公司在彻底重塑汽车制造的过程中遭遇的初期问题。一名发言人表示:“Model 3的生产或供应链不存在根本问题,我们有信心在近期解决制造瓶颈问题。”
        The company proudly noted that some of its manufacturing lines — including the seat assembly and paint shop — have “demonstrated a manufacturing ability” to handle 1,000 cars a week, and others have demonstrated “burst builds of about 500 a week”.        该公司自豪地指出,部分生产线(包括座椅装配和喷漆车间)已经具有每周处理1000辆电动车的制造能力,其他生产线具有在突击情况下每周生产约500辆的能力。
        That still puts its factories in California and Nevada a long way from 5,000 cars a week. Although deliveries of the high end Model S and X are up, the company recently removed references to scheduling test drives from its Model 3 information page. That suggests that it will be a long time before ordinary drivers get anywhere near a Tesla electric car.        然而这意味着,特斯拉在加州和内华达的工厂距离每周5000辆的产能目标仍有很长一段路。虽然高端Model S和Model X车型的交付数量有所增加,但特斯拉最近已将预约试驾的内容从Model 3的信息页面删除。这似乎表明,普通驾驶者将要等上很久才有机会体验特斯拉电动车。
        Tesla counters that focusing on production numbers misses the point because it is more than “just” a carmaker. As outlined in founder Elon Musk’s “Master Plan, Part Deux” last year, Tesla is seeking to create a “sustainable energy economy” by supplying solar panels, home energy storage and fully autonomous electric cars and trucks.        特斯拉反驳称,只关注产量没有抓住关键,因为特斯拉不仅仅“只是”一家汽车制造商。正如特斯拉创始人埃隆•马斯克(Elon Musk)去年发布的《总规划,第二部分》(Master Plan, Part Deux)所描述的,特斯拉正致力于通过供应太阳能电池板、家庭能源存储以及完全自主驾驶的电动汽车和卡车,打造“可持续能源经济”。
        Some investors are sceptical. Tesla’s share price is down more than 20 per cent since mid-September, and it is the most shorted US stock by dollar volume, according to figures from analyst        一些投资者感到怀疑。自9月中旬以来,特斯拉的股价已下跌逾20%,而分析公司S3 Partners的数据显示,该股是按金额计算被卖空最多的美国股票。相信特斯拉股价将下跌的投资者已经为此押注82亿美元。根据彭博(Bloomberg)的数据,这相当于16%的流通股。(公平地讲,这比2016年3月的27%少一些。)
        S3 Partners. Investors who believe the share price will fall have placed bets worth $8.2bn. That is equivalent to 16 per cent of shares outstanding, according to Bloomberg data. (To be fair, this is down from 27 per cent in March 2016.)        市场的怀疑是有根据的。截至上月,特斯拉电动车有史以来的总产量达到25万辆。大众(Volkswagen)或丰田(Toyota)每10天的产量就达到这个水平。传统汽车制造商拥有几十年的经验,使它们在打造高效率生产线和管理长供应链方面具有真正的优势。
        The doubts are well founded. As of last month, the total number of Tesla vehicles ever produced reached 250,000. Volkswagen and Toyota each make that number every 10 days. The traditional carmakers have decades of experience that give them real advantages in building efficient production lines and managing long supply chains.        在特斯拉不断占据新闻头条的同时,通用汽车(General Motors)一直在埋头打造面向大众市场的电动车。在截至10月31日的10个月里,通用汽车已经交付1.7083万辆全新的雪佛兰Bolt全电动车以及1.6710万辆雪佛兰Volt插电式混合动力汽车。该公司还承诺到2023年将至少生产20款新的电动车型。
        While Tesla has been grabbing all the headlines, General Motors has been quietly building mass market electric cars. In the 10 months to October 31, it has delivered 17,083 of its brand new Chevrolet Bolt fully electric vehicles and another 16,710 Volt plug-in hybrids. It also promised that it would produce at least 20 new electric models by 2023.        市场注意到了这些动态。过去12个月,通用汽车股价上涨了30%,夺回了美国市值最高汽车集团的桂冠,此前该公司曾短暂被特斯拉超越。通用汽车正在传统汽车市场扩大份额,而许多投资者认为,相比许多业内同行,该公司面对即将到来的电动和无人驾驶汽车时代处于更有利的竞争地位。通用汽车不仅推出了雪佛兰Bolt,还在2016年初向叫车公司Lyft投入5亿美元。
        The market is listening. GM shares are up 30 per cent in the past 12 months, and it has reclaimed its crown as the most valuable US car group, after briefly losing it to Tesla. GM is gaining market share in conventional cars and many investors believe that it is better positioned than many peers to survive the coming shift to electric and driverless vehicles. Not only does GM have the Bolt, it also put $500m into ride-hailing company Lyft in early 2016.        通用前副董事长鲍勃•卢茨(Bob Lutz)最近关于“汽车时代终结”的预言引发了热议,他的意思是,个人将不会再保有和驾驶汽车。他预计,实力将转向车队所有者(包括叫车应用)以及优步(Uber)、谷歌(Google)的自动驾驶汽车部门Waymo等科技集团。
        Former GM vice-chairman Bob Lutz recently made waves by predicting the “end of the automotive era” by which he means that individuals will cease to own and drive cars. He predicts that power will shift to fleet owners — including the ride-hailing apps — and tech groups such as Uber and Waymo, Google’s self-driving car division.        即便他说的没错,市场仍会需求可靠、优质的汽车,也总会需要有人去制造它们。而传统汽车制造商拥有悠久、经过验证的记录。
        Even if he is right, there will still be a need for reliable, well-made vehicles, and somebody is going to build them. And the traditional automakers have long and proven track records.        马斯克或许仍然能够从帽子中变出一只“技术”白兔,就像1913年亨利•福特(Henry Ford)通过安装首条装配线带来了制造业革命那样。但在马斯克拿出技术绝招之前,明智的投资者将会记住,管理大规模生产和长供应链并非易事。失败的代价高昂,甚至是致命的。
        Mr Musk may yet be able to pull a technological rabbit out of his hat, much as Henry Ford revolutionised manufacturing by installing the first assembly line in 1913. But until he does, investors would be wise to remember that managing mass production and long supply chains is not an easy task. Failures can be costly — and deadly.        特斯拉很擅长围绕电动车制造噱头。但在它的努力结出果实时,它本身未必是受益者。
        Tesla was brilliant at building buzz about electric cars. But it may not be the one to profit when its efforts bear fruit.        译者/申凯
                
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