Tesla has knocked off Toyota as the biggest auto employer in the state of California, employing over 6,000 people to the Japanese company's 5,300. That lead is only likely to grow, as the EV manufacturer prepares to add another 500 jobs by the end of the year, and as Toyota begins its relocation to its new North American headquarters in Texas. The news comes barely a week after the company announced a $50 million loss during the first quarter of 2014.
Tesla is happy to do things differently than other automakers, from the company-owned stores to the all-electric drivetrain. It also doesn't use union workers at its factory in Fremont, California (the former NUMMI plant, pictured). But now the United Auto Workers (UAW) is testing the waters for representation at the plant, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Tesla Motors' plans to expand just got a big boost, as the state of California has announced it will give the Palo Alto-based company a $34.7 million tax break to increase its production capacity. The EV manufacturer is being given a pass on sales and use taxes on up to $415 million worth of equipment, according to a report on the San Francisco Chronicle's website.
Tesla is currently using the old General Motors/Toyota NUMMI facility in California for Model S production, and despite the brand's rapid growth, it's still not coming close to approaching the full 500,000-unit production capacity of that former facility. Still, the EV manufacturer is shopping around for both European and Asian production facilities in anticipation of bountiful increases in sales.
Between its slow sales and the upcoming redesign of the closely related Corolla sedan, things haven't been looking good for the Toyota Matrix (for some time now). After 10 years on the market, Toyota has officially announced that it will drop the Matrix from its US lineup following the 2013 model year.
Two months ago, Tesla hired Chris Porritt to be the vice president of its vehicle engineering program. Tesla's purchase last week of a 35-acre parcel abutting its factory in Fremont, California will give Porritt, formerly the boss of Aston Martin's Vehicle Engineering team (he's the father of the One-77 supercar), at least a portion of a test track where he can challenge and hone the EVs of the future.
The early delivery hints were spot on. Tesla's vice president of worldwide sales and ownership experience, George Blankenship, has declared June 22 – just one month away – as the day when the first Model S will be delivered. He wrote on the official Tesla blog today that, "We are ahead of schedule and can't wait to put our first Reservation Holders behind the wheel!" We're sure the buyers feel the same way.
Rumors that Toyota would some day build the Prius in the U.S. have bounced around for years, with a location in Mississippi often being cited as the most likely candidate. After that plan was officially scrapped in 2008, a new version of the same story returned in 2010 when a Toyota executive vice president said Mississippi Prius production could start up in 2016. Given the on-again, off-again history of the story, we weren't surprised when not much was officially said about the matter in the la
Tesla had a big weekend. Some 1,500 Model S hand-raisers and their +1s descended on the company's recently acquired NUMMI plant in Fremont, CA to see where their $5,000 deposits have gone. The event, which served as both a product extravaganza and a subtle reassurance, sought to prove that the Model S is well on its way to production. And part of the program included rides in three Model S betas.
Toyota has finally tied up all the loose ends associated with closing the New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. plant – its joint facility with General Motors in Fremont, California. When NUMMI closed in March 2010, some workers who were on medical leave at the time of the shutdown sued, claiming they didn't get the same severance package as their still-working peers.
Toyota is still upset about how its joint NUMMI venture with General Motors was handled, and according to Automotive News, the Japanese automaker has now filed a lawsuit to the tune of $73 million. The suit is against Motors Liquidation Co., the company created to pick through the discarded ashes of "Old GM."
No, as a matter of fact, we didn't think Bob King's newly minted tenure as UAW president would begin like this. King was elected just last week, and he's already called for the membership's first major action: picket their neighborhood Toyota dealers. Why? To put pressure on Toyota to let its U.S. factory employees unionize, especially after the messy closure of the NUMMI facility– and while the UAW is at it, Volkswagen, Honda, Hyundai and Kia factory employees need to unionize as well.
When Toyota shuttered its NUMMI plant for good at the end of March, over 4,700 workers lost their jobs. The Japanese automaker softened the blow of those lost jobs by forking over $281 million in aid, or about $60,000 for every worker at the plant. Daily Markets now reports that the federal government is stepping in to add a a bit more scratch to help the NUMMI workforce find new work. The $19 million emergency fund cash infusion will be used for training and other support.
Just a few days ago, we learned of the Tesla-Toyota-NUMMI deal and many immediately rejoiced. It was one of the most exciting moments we've written about in quite some time, and we were admittedly head over heels about it. Now that the initial excitement has waned and some additional details slowly begin to trickle in, we're not quite as ecstatic any more. Why not? It turns out that the deal has lot of contingencies and there's even a possibility that part of the deal might fall through.