Tesla buys German firm in push toward plant automation

Tesla buys German firm in push toward plant automation

All-glass roof on the Model S.

Tesla's push on automation is extending beyond just self-driving cars. Now, it's moving more toward building the cars autonomously as well.

The electric car maker confirmed on Tuesday that it would be buying German automated manufacturing company Grohmann Engineering. Grohmann's 700 workers will join Tesla, with the unit being renamed Tesla Grohmann Automation. Its base in Pr?m, Germany, will become the headquarters for Tesla Advanced Automation Germany.

Tesla is going to need all the help it can get. Since announcing its lower cost Model 3 earlier this year the company has set a goal of producing 500,000 cars per year by 2018. The company plans to deliver about 50,000 cars in the last half of this year.

CEO Elon Musk has repeatedly talked about focusing his engineering team on designing innovative factories, right along with the need to improve cars, He says more effort is being put into the machines that make the machines -- more automated production lines and better complex robots -- as a way to boost productivity and hold down costs.

As recently as last month, he told investors in a conference call that the factory that will make the Model 3, Tesla's first mass-market electric car, will see a boost in efficiency.

In addition to Grohmann's employees Tesla said it would be be adding over 1,000 "advanced engineering and skilled technician jobs" in Germany over the next two years.

Terms of the deal were not announced. Tesla expects the deal to close in "early 2017."

Tesla manufactures its cars in Fremont, Calif., and is now has a massive battery plant outside Reno, Nev. Even with the acquisition, the company does not plan to stop expanding. The car maker teased in a blog post that there would be "other locations to follow," though it did not provide any further details.

Tesla stock was trading midday at $191.49, down $1.72 or less than 1%..



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