Elon Musk Says Tesla Is Restarting California Production, Defying Local Order -- Update
By Tim Higgins
Elon Musk said Tesla Inc. is resuming production of cars at its
lone U.S. assembly factory outside of San Francisco, in defiance of
local authorities that have ordered the plant to remain shut down
as part of the area's efforts to slow the spread of the novel
The chief executive announced the plans on Twitter Monday: "I
will be on the line with everyone else," he wrote. "If anyone is
arrested, I ask that it only be me."
The Silicon Valley car maker filed a lawsuit in federal court on
Saturday asking a judge to allow it to reopen the factory, arguing
in part that Alameda County, where the facility is located, had
overstepped its power in blocking the operational resumption even
as the governor started letting manufacturing in the state to
restart last week. Mr. Musk blasted the move and said over the
weekend he was going to move the Palo Alto-based company's
headquarters out of state.
The CEO announced Tesla's production plans shortly after
California Gov. Gavin Newsom held a press conference during which
he was asked several questions about the auto maker, including
about photos of the Fremont factory's parking lot showing it full
of cars, possibly indicating there was activity at the site.
Mr. Newsom said he expects Tesla would be able to resume car
manufacturing as early as next week at its plant, which local
authorities first ordered to close in March as part of efforts to
stop the spread of Covid-19.
During the press call, Mr. Newsom backed the county's slower
plan to phase in nonessential businesses. "I have great
expectations that we can work through at the county level the issue
with this particular county and company in the next number of
days," he said.
Tesla workers said they have been instructed to report back to
work this week. The company didn't respond to a request for
Mr. Newsom also said he expected ties between Tesla and the
Golden State to remain strong after Mr. Musk threatened the move.
"I have more confidence moving forward in our ability to support a
company that this state has substantively supported for now many,
many years, and in return we have been beneficiaries of their
incredible growth, ingenuity and innovative spirit. We look forward
to many, many decades of that relationship."
Shortly before the start of the daily briefing, which was
broadcasted on social media, Tesla board member Kimbal Musk, the
CEO's brother, was critical of the governor on Twitter. "The
governor has enormous power," he wrote. "He chose to put it into
the hands of the county and he can take back that decision. This is
on @GavinNewsom entirely. Deciding the future of @tesla on the whim
of a part time interim health director was his decision and he can
easily revert it."
--Timothy Puko contributed to this article.
Write to Tim Higgins at Tim.Higgins@WSJ.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 11, 2020 17:21 ET (21:21 GMT)
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