Reports: Musk might buy some GM plants slated for idling


Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk told CBS’s “60 Minutes” that he may be willing to buy some of the five factories General Motors Co. will idle next year, various news outlets are reporting.

This possible job-creating move, reported by Bloomberg, Fox, CNet and Electrek, comes as GM takes political heat for cutting workers.

Musk made the statements in an interview with Leslie Stahl that will air Sunday. CBS released excerpts Friday.

With Tesla in the midst of ramping up production of its flagship Model 3 sedan, Musk told “60 Minutes” that his firm would consider acquiring one of GM’s facilities.

“It’s possible that we would be interested, if they were going to sell a plant or not use it, that we would take it over,” Musk said during the appearance.

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While the idea of a big player like GM trying to take bigger steps in electrification might rankle some small automakers, Musk isn't bothered.

"The whole point of Tesla is to accelerate the advent of electric vehicles," Musk said to Stahl. "If somebody comes and makes a better electric car than Tesla and it's so much better than ours that we can't sell our cars and we go bankrupt, I still think that's a good thing for the world."

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for further comment regarding the GM plants.

It wouldn’t be the first time that Tesla has purchased another car company’s shuttered factory. Musk’s firm previously bought a plant jointly owned by General Motors and Toyota for $42 million in 2010, electric-car blog Electrek reported. The plant is now one of Tesla’s main production facilities.

GM CEO Mary Barra said the restructuring plan will save the venerable automaker $4.5 billion by 2020. Facing criticism on Capitol Hill, Barra said GM would keep an “open mind” about the future of an Ohio-based plant, Reuters reported.

Barra was in Washington the past two days meeting with members of Congress about her plans to close five factories in North America and lay off 14,700 workers. She is under pressure to keep some of those facilities opened.

While Barra was speaking with legislators on Thursday, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said it will reopen one of its idle engine plant in Detroit and build a new Jeep, intensifying the irritation in Congress over GM’s plan to cut jobs.

Tesla makes the all-electric Model S, Model X and Model 3 at its sole auto plant in California, which it bought from a joint venture operated by GM and Toyota Motor Corp.

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