Tesla set an aggressive timetable for its $1.1 billion greenfield assembly plant in Austin, Texas. The electric vehicle maker announced the project only last summer but vows to start production there by the end of this year.
To meet that target, which is part of a plan to quickly launch its Cybertruck, Tesla also must draw suppliers into the Austin area. Supplier plant investments are expected to boom in the region. But so far, few parts companies have declared their intentions.
When asked during a July earnings call about Tesla's ability to stay on plan and expand production, Tesla CEO Elon Musk was philosophical.
"Things will move as fast as the slowest part in the entire supply chain," he said, "which goes all the way back to raw materials — lithium and nickel and that kind of thing."
Some suppliers recently have arrived in Tesla's new Texas corridor, although they are not specifying that the secretive Tesla is the reason. Some already supply other Tesla models made in Fremont, Calif.
Among the projects there:
- ElringKlinger, a German supplier of parts and engineering services for electric vehicle programs, will build a $17 million plant in San Antonio, according to a local construction firm. ElringKlinger currently supplies cockpit cross beams for Tesla Model 3 production in Fremont.
- Plastikon, an injection-molded plastics manufacturer in Hayward, Calif., that supplies Tesla's Fremont assembly plant and provides plastics to automotive customers and other industries. The Austin Business Journal reported that Plastikon has leased a 100,000-sq.-ft. facility in nearby Kyle, Texas, that will produce components for Tesla.
- Simwon North America, a U.S. business unit of South Korea's Myoung Shin Industrial, will open an auto body parts facility in Kyle. Simwon also supplies Tesla's assembly operations in Fremont. The company and related subsidiaries supply Hyundai, Hyundai Steel and supplier Hyundai Mobis, as well as Tesla in China, according to its website.
- Saueressig Engineering, a German industrial process supplier now owned by the U.S. conglomerate Matthews International Corp. of Pittsburgh, will build a plant in San Antonio, according to a local report. Saueressig Engineering is a Tesla supplier, and the new Texas operation is expected to focus on EV battery production.