Tesla Motors Inc. has become the biggest auto-industry employer in California. Tesla now employs more than 6,000 people in the state, the automaker said. That moves the fast-growing company well ahead of Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s biggest automaker, which has 5,300 direct employees in California—a count set to fall after the Japan-based company said it will move a majority of those jobs to Texas by 2017.
Tesla will add at least 500 more workers by the end of 2014 in California, Simon Sproule, a spokesman, said in an interview.
“Tesla’s scaling up here in California is terrific news,” said Gino DiCaro, spokesman for the California Manufacturers & Technology Association. “It’s also an exception—and we certainly need more of them.”
Tesla, the only publicly listed company making cars in the Golden State, also is planning to hire workers for a former Chrysler parts-distribution site it’s retooling in Lathrop, CA, an hour east of Fremont, CA, Sproule said. He declined to elaborate on what work Tesla will do there. Tesla, with headquarters in Palo Alto, CA, also has a design studio in suburban Los Angeles, CA.
Since early 2013, Tesla has added more than 3,000 direct employees to boost Model S production and prepare to make Model X electric sport-utility vehicles, said Diarmuid O’Connell, Tesla’s vice president for business development.
“It’s poorly understood how much Tesla has invested in the state of California,” O’Connell said in an interview in Fremont, and “how much it’s added in just the past 18 months.”