Elon Musk calls Tesla 'a real car company'
Tesla is finally "a real car company", chief executive Elon Musk has said, after hitting a target to build 5,000 Model 3 electric cars in a week.
In an email, Mr Musk praised staff for reaching the much-delayed goal, helped by setting up production in a tent.
"Intense in tents. Transporting entire production lines across the world in massive cargo planes. Whatever. It worked," he said.
The Model 3 is Tesla's more affordable electric car aimed at the mass-market.
Tesla had said it would produce 5,000 Model 3 cars a week by the end of the second quarter of the year.
The company had originally intended to hit the target by December last year, but this was then pushed back to the end of the first quarter of 2018 and then delayed again to the end of the second quarter.
The 5,000th car of the week rolled off the production line on Sunday morning, according to Reuters.
Mr Musk said in an email: "We did it!! What an incredible job by an amazing team. Couldn't be more proud to work with you.
"The level of dedication and creativity was mind-blowing. We either found a way or, by will and inventiveness, created entirely new solutions that were thought impossible."
Mr Musk said that, together with production of Tesla's Model S car and Model X SUV, the company achieved "a combined 7,000 vehicle week!".
He added: "I think we just became a real car company."
Mr Musk's enthusiastic announcement prompted a tongue-in-cheek response from Steven Armstrong, chairman and chief executive for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Ford, the 115 year-old US motor giant.
Comparing the two companies' production prowess, Mr Armstrong pointed out that Ford can produce 7,000 vehicles in about four hours compared to 7,000 in a week.
The Model 3 was first unveiled in 2016 and at the time Tesla said it planed to produce 5,000 Model 3 cars a week in 2017 and 10,000 a week by 2018.
In order the reach the weekly deadline, Tesla build an entire new general assembly line between May and June in one of the car parks of its Fremont factory in California.
Mr Musk has said that the Model 3 is the "best car for its cost, either electric or gasoline".
Prices start at $35,000 (£26,650), whereas the starting price for the Model S and Model X are around $80,000.
The Model 3 can run for 220 miles before it needs to be recharged.