The heads of Tesla Motors Inc. and Toyota Motors Corp. surprised the auto world on Thursday by announcing a partnership to develop and build electric cars at a recently shuttered auto plant in the San Francisco Bay area.
Akio Toyoda, CEO of the world's largest automaker, said Toyota will invest $50 million in Tesla when the company begins selling stock to the public, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk said his company will purchase the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. factory, known as Nummi, in Fremont where the Model S electric sedan will be built.
"We're going to create electric cars together," Musk told a news conference at Tesla's office in Palo Alto. "It's a great honor to work with a company like Toyota, one of the automobile leaders of the world and one I've personally long admired." Toyoda flew in from Japan to make the announcement a day after both companies finalized the deals.
"I spent time at Nummi and learned much about working in America there, so I feel a sense of attachment (to the plant)," Toyoda said. He also said in a statement that through the venture, Toyota hopes to learn from Tesla's "challenging spirit, quick decision-making and flexibility."