Tesla acquires German factory automation firm

Tesla acquires German factory automation firm

Tesla Motors has acquired German factory automation firm Grohmann Engineering to help ramp up production.

Led by founder and chief executive Klaus Grohmann, the Prüm-based company is said to be one of the world’s leaders in developing highly automated manufacturing processes.

“Under the continued leadership of Mr. Grohmann, several critical elements of Tesla’s automated manufacturing systems will be designed and produced in Prüm to help make our factories the most advanced in the world,” Tesla said in a statement. “Combined with our California and Michigan engineering facilities, as well as other locations to follow, we believe the result will yield exponential improvements in the speed and quality of production, while substantially reducing the capital expenditures required per vehicle.”

Tesla is facing a significant challenge as it prepares to grow from the relatively low-volume Model S and Model X to the high-volume Model 3. The company has only built around 160,000 vehicles to date, representing just a fraction of its production target of 500,000 cars annually by 2018.

The company has already quadrupled output at its Fremont factory in just four years, but the half-million-unit goal will require an even higher growth rate. Aside from the Grohmann buyout, Tesla earlier this year hired Audi veteran Peter Hochholdinger to serve as vice president of vehicle production.

The California-based automaker plans to add over 1,000 engineering and technical jobs in Germany over the next two years. The company hopes to close the deal and form Tesla Grohmann Automation early next year, just months before the Model 3 begins series production.