Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) now has around over 6,000 employees in the state of California, which places them above Toyota as the leading auto employer in the state. Toyota employs around 5,300 people in California, which will drop in the future since Toyota is moving most of these jobs to Texas. Tesla’s employment figure will grow in California as the company plans to add at least 500 additional workers by the end of 2014.
The state of California is generally not considered an ideal environment for automotive companies because of high labor, land, and energy costs. The state of California also has strict environmental regulators.
General Motors used to have several auto plants in California. GM opened plants in South Gate and Van Nuys before 1950. GM also opened a plant in Fremont. The Van Nuys and South Gate plant closed a while ago. The Fremont facility was closed after that and then it reopened as a joint GM-Toyota assembly plant. It was closed again when GM went bankrupt in 2009.
The Fremont plant was acquired and reopened by Tesla Motors where it makes the Tesla Model S vehicle today. Tesla Motors is also considering a former Chrysler plant in Lathrop, California. Tesla was granted building permits to modify a 431,000 square foot facility in Lathrop.