DOWNEY - Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk says he was prepared to build his vehicle assembly plant in Downey before Toyota suddenly came forward with its $50 million offer, according to a letter written by Musk.The letter was released on Saturday, two days after news broke that Tesla would build a Model S assembly plant in Fremont. In the letter, titled "Downey is Awesome," Musk says a deal between Tesla and Toyota was reached Wednesday night. The letter does not reveal how long Tesla and Toyota had been in talks. Musk also recommends Downey "for any company [that] is considering a place for a major operation," and says he will consider Downey when he needs to expand SpaceX or starts an electric jet venture. Below is the full text of Musk's letter: Downey is Awesome "First, let me say that no one at Downey asked me to write this, nor have they threatened Tesla in any way. They are good people and their sadness that Tesla will not be moving to their city sinks my heart too. A lot has been said about Tesla picking the NUMMI plant in Fremont, a city in Silicon Valley, California. There may be some that think there were problems with the Downey plant or the general Southern California area. I'd like to make it clear that we did exhaustive due diligence and found no meaningful problems at all. If not for the great help of Toyota and support of MLC (the General Motors spinoff) in acquiring NUMMI on terms that Tesla could afford, there is no question that we would be at Downey. In fact, the NUMMI deal was only reached the night before the scheduled press conference to announce the strategic partnership between Toyota and Tesla. I had planned to call Downey before the press conference, but unfortunately the news was accidentally leaked and the first they heard about it was from the press. For that, I am very sorry. The Downey plant has incredible history. It started off as one of the world's largest aircraft factories in the World War II era and was the actual home of the iconic Rosie the Riveter. Downey then transitioned to the Apollo Moon program and it was there that they built the Command Module and trained lunar astronauts. Creating history yet again, Downey then became the plant where all the Space Shuttles were built. Following the downturn in aerospace in the post Cold War nineties and given its proximity to Hollywood, Downey became a movie studio, which it still is today. A long list of blockbuster movies have been and are being filmed there, including Indiana Jones, The Prestige, Iron Man 2, The Italian Job and Spider-Man I loved the Downey plant and the people of Downey from the moment I first visited. They could not have been more welcoming and spared no effort to make Downey work as a home for Tesla. No city could ask for better people to represent them than city manager Jerry Caton, (former mayor and now council member) Mario Guerra, the Downey town council and the people on their teams. If any company is considering a place to locate a major operation, I strongly recommend Downey. If it is still available down the road when SpaceX needs to expand or I start the electric jet venture, I will go there myself."
********** Published: May 28, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 6