The landing of Tesla in Europe stresses the German sector

Rosalía Sánchez

Berlin

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What in any other country would have been taken as a success, Germany is taking it as a frontal attack. The American company of high-end electric vehicles Tesla has announced the opening of a huge factory in Berlin and the leading conservative daily newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine, has titled "Attack in the Heart of the Domestic Market" on its cover. "Everyone knows that German engineering is extraordinary, and that is one of the reasons we are going to implement our European mega-factory in Germany," said Tesla's executive director, Elon musk, on which it will be the fourth factory of Tesla, after those of Nevada and New York, in the United States, and Shanghai, in China.

The one in Berlin, In addition to manufacturing batteries that will enter into direct competition with which France and Germany intend to manufacture together in a great public budget effort, but will also house an engineering and design center. When asked about the expected deadlines and the date on which the macro factory will be operational, Musk responded with irony: "we will definitely have to get a better pace than the airport," referring to the projected airport of the German capital, whose inauguration leads delaying due to technical problems since 2013.

Tesla thus sets foot in Europe, with a headquarters that will manufacture batteries, transmission systems and vehicles. "Starting with the Model Y," said Musk, whose launch is scheduled for 2020. The Tesla website already announces job vacancies for Germany and the company expects the factory to be operational by the end of 2021. The Model Y is a compact SUV based on Model 3, which is currently available in Germany for a price exceeding 44,000 euros. Tesla is building it at the parent plant in Fremont, Silicon Valley, but it is in high demand and the factory is overloaded, to the point that an additional production chain has been enabled under a tent attached to the factory.

The factory will be installed in Grünheide, in the Oder-Spree district. That same location was valued by BMW to establish a BMW plant there. The Tesla project does not seem like an improvisation because three years ago it was done with the German machine manufacturer Grohmann, specialized in production chains. Local authorities estimate the creation of some 10,000 jobs that will undoubtedly be an economic and demographic revulsive for this region of the territory of the former GDR.

The regional president of Brandenburg, Dietmar Woidke, has greeted the announcement as "the biggest investment in history in the region" and has also welcomed Tesla the green senator of Economy of Berlin, RAmona Pop, who has tweeted: «If you have visions, come to Berlin! Welcome to the metropolitan region, Tesla! Something less enthusiastic, the German Minister of Economy, Peter AltmeierHe said that "the decision is proof that Germany remains an attractive location for the motor sector."

But from the German economy the first reactions are quite acidic. The CEO of Siemens, Joe Kaeser,He has complained in the social networks: «Fun formation of public opinion in our country. If a German CEO proactively aligns his company with the future, he is considered "pathetic" or "philosophical." When a smoked colleague from the United States talks about trips to the moon then he is a committed visionary. He referred to the interview with the adjective in which Musk smoked pot last year.

Kaeser has received harsh criticism for that aggressive comment against, by the way, a Siemens client. His designated successor, Roland Busch, has requested an appointment with Musk to "undo the misunderstanding." But it is clear that the sector is nervously experiencing this Tesla landing, especially because of the critical situation in which it remains mired. The most popular brand of electric cars in Germany is not any German, but Tesla, which last year sold 9,300 units in this country. In second place is the French Renault Group, with 8,300 electric vehicles sold. Only in third place, BMW appears with sales of approximately 8000 pieces.

Electromobility remains a niche market in Germany. Only the 1.7% of all new license plates have an electric motor. And in the remaining 98.3%, Tesla does not dominate but other manufacturers. However, the market vision of the Tesla announcement, with its new factory at the gates of Berlin and in a territory with very favorable conditions and that German West companies have not stepped on, is a blow to German competition and the domestic market .

Tesla represents 30% of the European market for electric cars with battery, according to Matthias Schmidt, analyst specialized in the automotive industry. The American manufacturer has recently managed to return to profitability, after two quarters in red numbers, and its executive director has been confident in the company's ability to deliver on its promise to deliver between 360,000 and 400,000 new cars in the whole of 2019 Its goal is now to increase sales volume and control costs to be profitable in a lasting way.

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