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By James Sillars, business reporter

Investors have taken flight from Tesla after the company admitted production is lagging targets – a contentious issue that is the subject of a court hearing in New York.

Shares fell 10% when the Nasdaq opened after the electric carmaker said it only managed to produce 77,100 vehicles in the first quarter of the year.

That is well behind the pace it must keep if it is to fulfil chief executive Elon Musk's pledge to manufacture 500,000 cars annually.

The company also reported a 31% dip in the number of vehicles it delivered between January and March compared to the previous three months.

Image: The Model 3 was Tesla's first 'mass market' electric car

It said the total of 63,000 was largely a consequence of more cars being shipped to Europe and China – the latter currently engaged in a trade war with the US.

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Both metrics were said, by analysts, to have fuelled concerns over Tesla's profitability.

The company had already admitted that it was likely to record a loss in the first quarter as cost-cutting and price reductions in the model 3 would take a toll on its bottom line. Financial results are due by early next month.

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Tesla said that, despite the lower production volumes, it still expected to deliver between 360,000 and 400,000 vehicles this year as production of its new Model Y mid-size SUV prepares to get underway next year.

:: Tesla launches new Model Y mid-size SUV

Elon Musk launches the Tesla Model Y
Image: Elon Musk launches the Tesla Model Y

Production targets at Tesla are contentious to the extent a Manhattan court is due to rule today on whether Mr Musk broke a legal agreement not to tweet potentially market-sensitive information when he predicted in February that Tesla would make about 500,000 cars this year.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) made the condition paRead More – Source

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