Musk fires head of automation firm key to Tesla Model 3 factory


Elon Musk plugs a Tesla Model S into a Supercharger (Image: deanslavnich on Twitter)

Elon Musk plugs a Tesla Model S into a Supercharger (Image: deanslavnich on Twitter)

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Tesla and Klaus Grohmann have parted ways.

Reuters reports Tesla CEO Elon Musk ousted Grohmann over the executives concerns over how his company's legacy clients, including Tesla rivals like Daimler and BMW, would be served in the future.

Grohmann's company, Grohmann Engineering, specializes in automation, and Tesla purchased the company last November to help the EV-maker reach its goal of producing 500,000 vehicles per year by 2018.

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Tesla planned to keep Grohmann on as an executive, but repeated clashes with Musk seem to have made that difficult.

Musk wanted Grohmann and the company he founded in 1963 to focus its efforts primarily on Tesla projects, thereby putting older clients on the back burner.

While speaking with Reuters, Grohmann said, "I definitely did not depart because I had lost interest in working."

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Tesla, meanwhile, painted a different picture, saying that Grohmann had already planned to move towards retirement when he began working with Tesla, and that the decision for him to leave was "mutually decided."

Grohmann's former company is now called Tesla Grohmann Automation.

Tesla began as one of Grohmann Engineering's clients, but as Tesla grew, Musk decided to buy the company and make its location, Pruem, Germany, a hub for Tesla manufacturing.

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Grohmann held contracts with a number of large clients, including Bosch and Intel.

Tesla is now in talks with those companies to reach an agreement on how to compensate them for the reallocation of resources.

Meanwhile, employees at TGA continue to work on, though Reuters says that some at the company are worried about being dependent on just one client.

Those concerns have caused German labor union IG Metall to demand multi-year job guarantees and raises for those workers given the current management shakeup. 

 
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