On April 1, 2010 the NUMMI plant, a GM-Toyota joint venture building Toyota cars and arguably GM's best performing plant, built its last car. We discussed what that means for GM's supply chain in a recent commentary. There were fears that this may be the end of auto manufacturing in the Bay Area. Now a mere 7 weeks later, new life has been breathed into the plant, with plans to build about 20,000 of Tesla's moderately priced ($50K) Model S Sedan all-electric vehicles in the first year, employing about 1,000 workers. Production begins 2012.
Tesla is of course famous for its all-electric $100,000 Roadster (0-60 in 3.7 seconds!). In fact, Mr. Toyoda (President of Toyota) drove a Tesla Roadster about six weeks ago, with Tesla CEO Elon Musk. He loved the car and hit it off with Musk. Toyoda commented "I felt the wind of the future." Toyota is investing about $50M in Tesla, but will continue their own all-electric car developments as well. A good car and good chemistry led to quick action, which should benefit many people and the environment.
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