SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — North Carolina’s campaign to lure disgruntled automaker Elon Musk away from the San Francisco Bay Area took to the skies over the company’s Fremont assembly plant on Tuesday.
A small plane flew a banner over the Tesla Fremont factory that read: “Tesla come to NC. We want you at GR Megasite.”
That’s a reference to the 1,800-acre Greensboro-Randolph Megasite. It was recently passed over for a Toyota-Mazda plant.
“We knew we had to do something outside of the box, these are outside of the box times, to get his attention,” said Greensboro President of the Chamber of Commerce Brent Christensen.
The Chamber of Commerce is pitching Greensboro as a place to move after Musk threatened to take Tesla out of state earlier this month when he engaged in a war of words on social media with Alameda County officials, demanding he be allowed to reopen the massive assembly plant that had been idled by a COVID-19 shelter in place order.
“It’s an incredibly competitive business and so again that’s why you try to get their attention, try to stand out from the crowd,” said Christensen. “Because I can’t think of any community in the United States that wouldn’t want a Tesla facility and the thousands of jobs and the millions of dollars of investment that come with it.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom addressed the matter on CNBC on Tuesday.
“I’m also not worried about Elon leaving anytime soon,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of conversations with him, and we’re committed to the success and the innovation and the low-carbon, green growth economy that he’s been promoting for decades and the state of California is accelerating in.”
The Fremont plant began full operations Monday after the county signed off on its health and safety plan.
Joint Venture Silicon Valley CEO Russell Hancock says from an operational standpoint, it would not be in Tesla’s interests to relocate.
“Tesla’s already located here and he has sunk costs,”said Hancock. “He has an entire plant, manufacturing operations, history here all of that…so it doesn’t make sense that he would uproot all of that.”