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Tesla lands sudden deal with Toyota, will build Model S sedan in Fremont NUMMI plant

Darren Murph
May 20, 2010
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Tesla's still got a ways to go before it overtakes those conventional automakers, but darn if it's not on the right track now. The company today announced a deal with Toyota -- yeah, Toyota -- in order to collaborate on the "development of electric vehicles, parts, and production system and engineering support." Reportedly, the tandem will form a specialist team to further these efforts, with Toyota agreeing to purchase $50 million of Tesla's common stock issued in a private placement. In the short term, Tesla is purchasing the former NUMMI factory in Fremont, California in order to build the Model S sedan and other "future Tesla vehicles," which should employ around 1,000 workers now to produce around 20,000 cars per year. For those unaware, the NUMMI facility was recently vacated, leaving 4,500 Toyota employees holding pink slips and ginormous frowns; Tesla CEO Elon Musk did confirm, however, that some of those have already been rehired. The good news here is that consumers should see lower prices due to Tesla having access to Toyota's streamlined supply chain (not to mention those hugely leveraged bulk buy deals), but the bad news is that citizens of Downey, California -- a town that was purportedly ready to sign a similar deal with Tesla "tomorrow" -- now have to deal with an erupted bubble. You win some, you lose some, as they say.

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