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Tesla's German plant hits 4,000 cars per week ahead of schedule

Tesla logo at a dealership in Chambourcy

By Victoria Waldersee

BERLIN (Reuters) -Tesla's German plant in Brandenburg near Berlin is now producing 4,000 cars per week, the company said on Monday, quadrupling from May when Chief Executive Elon Musk had compared investment in Tesla's new plants to "gigantic money furnaces."

The Berlin plant hit the production target three weeks ahead of a production schedule reviewed by Reuters.

Shares of Tesla were up 4% at $204.93 on Monday.

At its new weekly output, Tesla's plant in Germany would have annual output of over 200,000 vehicles. The maximum capacity planned for the Brandenburg plant is 500,000 cars a year, nearing 10,000 per week, the company has said.

Output from the plant in Germany is now a third of the Model Y output in Shanghai, where Tesla planned to keep an average total output of 13,000 Model Ys per week - around 1,000 below maximum capacity - and a further 7,000 Model 3s in February and March, according to the production plan.

Tesla was planning to ramp up output from Brandenburg to 4,000 in the week of March 13 and to more than 5,000 by the end of June. It hit production of 2,000 units per week in October last year and 3,000 per week in December.

The Brandenburg plant started operations in March but was initially slow to get going. In a May interview, Musk described Tesla's newest plants in Germany and Austin as "gigantic money furnaces" due to the challenges of increasing production.

The ramp up in output in Germany would allow Tesla to use a larger share of its Shanghai production for markets outside Europe, including Thailand, where it has just launched sales.

Tesla has also begun assembling batteries in Germany that will soon be used in vehicles produced at the plant, but said last week it would focus cell production in the U.S. in light of Inflation Reduction Act incentives.

The U.S. electric-vehicle maker is also preparing to produce cell components such as electrodes, some of which will be sent from its site in Gruenheide in the state of Brandenburg to the United States, Tesla said on Wednesday.

Tesla is due to update analysts on its strategy on Wednesday when the company has its investor day.

(Reporting by Victoria Waldersee and Zhang Yan; Editing by Friederike Heine and Bernadette Baum)