Tesla blames Brexit for decision to build Gigafactory in Germany, not UK

Tesla blames Brexit for decision to build Gigafactory in Germany, not UK
Tesla blames Brexit for decision to build Gigafactory in Germany, not UK

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said that the car maker ruled the UK as a potential site for the its new factory due to uncertainty over Brexit.

The entrepreneur announced this week that Tesla will build its new European Gigafactory in Germany along with a new research and development facility.

And speaking to Auto Express, he said that Brexit had made it “too risky” to put the new battery and vehicle production facility in the UK, going back on previous suggestions that Tesla could open a UK site.

In 2014 Musk hinted at plans to build an R&D facility in the UK and in an 2016 interview with the Telegraph he played down the potential threat of Brexit.

However, this week he announced that the new plant and a design and engineering centre will be built near Berlin and told Auto Express: “Brexit made it too risky to put a Gigafactory in the UK.”

Outstanding engineering

Elon Musk
Elon Musk said Brexit uncertainty had made the UK an unattractive option and praised Germany’s history of car production (Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

Announcing the plans for the new factory in Germany at Auto Bild’s Golden Steering Wheel Awards, Musk said: “Some of the best cars in the world are made in Germany, everyone knows that German engineering is outstanding. That’s part of the reason why we’re locating our Gigafactory Europe in Germany.”

Musk was in Europe to accept the motoring magazine’s car of the year award for the Model 3.

Read more: The cheapest electric cars on sale in 2019

The Berlin facility is Tesla’s fourth battery plant and, according to Musk, will build batteries, powertrains and vehicles, starting with the Model Y compact crossover which is due to launch in autumn 2020. It is believed that the Model 3, which shares a platform with the Model Y could also be built there at a later date.

Uncertainty for car industry

Tesla Model Y
Musk said that the new Tesla Model Y will be built at the German plant (Photo: Frederic J Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

Musk’s comments come after other car makers warned of the impact of Brexit on UK car production. In July Groupe PSA warned that it could put the future of Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port factory in doubt. Its chief executive Carlos Tavares said that an unfavourable Brexit could make production of the next-generation Vauxhall Astra at the Merseyside plant unfeasible. Without the Astra, the plant would most likely have to close, affecting up to 1,000 workers.

And in September, BMW said a no-deal Brexit or one where tariffs increase would see production cut at MINI’s Oxford factory.

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