Tesla to pick up German engineering company to boost automation

Today Tesla Motors announced that it has entered into an agreement to buy Germany’s Grohmann Engineering, which specializes in manufacturing automation. Once the acquisition closes, the company will become Tesla Grohmann Automation, and Tesla says that it expects to add 1,000 engineering and technician jobs in Germany over the next two years.

Tesla did not announce the purchase price or the terms of the deal, and was not available for comment by the time that this article was published. As Grohmann is a private firm the public financial information that is required for listed companies is not available, however Grohmann’s website lists offices in China and the United States as well as Germany, and Bloomberg’s private company listings reports that it has sales and service centers in 13 nations.

Tesla has also not stated whether or not it will apply Grohmann’s engineering expertise to the SolarCity gigafactory or the new Solar Roof product if Tesla acquires SolarCity, or to its current battery manufacturing operations in Nevada. However, the acquisition of Grohmann is expected to help Tesla reach its goal of making 500,000 cars annually by 2018, and Tesla emphasized the importance of its manufacturing.

“As the machine that builds the machine, our factories are so important that we believe they will ultimately deserve an order of magnitude more attention in engineering than what they produce,” notes Tesla’s blog post. “At very high production volumes, the factory becomes more of a product than the product itself.”

Tesla hopes to close the acquisition in early 2017. The company will continue to be led by CEO Klaus Grohmann, and Grohmann’s current facilities in Western Germany will continue to serve as the initial base for Tesla Advanced Automation Germany.