Could the last major automaker in California be relocating to Texas—and possibly to the Rio Grande Valley?
Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez sent a letter Monday to Tesla CEO Elon Musk after Musk announced in a tweet last week that he would be relocating his company out of California. Alameda County in California has denied Tesla’s requests to reopen, making it—as of Monday—the only major auto manufacturer in the U.S. that is still closed. Musk tweeted that this was the “final straw” and that he would be relocating to “Texas/Nevada” immediately.
Frankly, this is the final straw. Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately. If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependen on how Tesla is treated in the future. Tesla is the last carmaker left in CA.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 9, 2020
In his letter to Musk, Judge Cortez said the county has a “pro-business governor” and a “hard-working and comparatively young labor force that could easily be trained to begin manufacturing operations for Tesla Motors.” Cortez also advertised the county’s existing automobile manufacturing infrastructure and relationship with Mexico.
“What we no longer have is a shelter at home mandate.”
Musk responded shortly after with a tweet: “Note is much appreciated.”
Note is much appreciated
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 11, 2020
Amid a very public feud and lawsuit with Alameda County officials, Tesla has released a detailed list of safety measures that the company would take were it permitted to reopen, called the “Return To Work Playbook.” Musk further expressed his anger at the county officials, tweeting, “Absurd & medically irrational behavior in violation of constitutional civil liberties, moreover by *unelected* county officials with no accountability, needs to stop.”
Although Elon Musk already has business relationships in the Rio Grande Valley with the SpaceX launch site at Boca Chica Beach in Brownsville, what could stifle a future Tesla move to Hidalgo County or any other area in Texas is the fact that Texas is one of only 10 states to prohibit the Tesla model of direct sale to consumers.
Tesla has 13 “galleries” in Texas that allow consumers to view Tesla cars and products. But under Texas law, these galleries are prohibited from discussing prices and selling or taking orders. Consumers must instead order Tesla cars from out of state and have their product shipped from California.
Elected officials in Texas have refused to pass legislation permitting direct-to-consumer sale since 2013.