French Economy Minister Visits Tesla’s Fremont Assembly, Tempts Tesla To Built Next Facility In France

JAN 7 2017 BY MARK KANE 68

Tesla manufacturing is present in Europe through its Tilburg, Netherlands final assembly factory (or put another way, its re-assembly factory – put in place to avoid certain European import fees), and also recently in Germany, through its acquisition of Grohmann Engineering.

Tesla Model S - Driven Like No Other Car?

Tesla Model S

Now, France’s Economy Minister Michel Sapin would like to encourage Tesla to also turn its eyes to his country for a new investment in Europe, such as Gigafactory #2.

Sapin visited the Tesla Factory in Fremont, California on Friday, and likely brought some incentive packages for Tesla’s consideration at the same time.

“France’s Economy Minister Michel Sapin is due to tour the company’s production site Friday in Fremont, California, to argue that if Tesla is going to expand, it should do so in France, a ministry spokeswoman said.

Sapin is attempting a variation on the tradition that sees French politicians heading to the U.S. amid CES, formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas to promote the country’s push for innovation.”

Last year, French Environment Minister Segolene Royal made the suggestion for Tesla to build a new factory on the site of France’s oldest nuclear reactor in Fessenheim.

source: Bloomberg

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68 Comments on "French Economy Minister Visits Tesla’s Fremont Assembly, Tempts Tesla To Built Next Facility In France"

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Smart move.

Strike is nearly a national pastime in France. Combined with 35 hour workweek and business unfriendly environment (there is a reason why so many French companies have exactly 49 employees), hard-to-fire workers… I just don’t see it. Not impossible, but unlikely (doesn’t hurt to try though).

I would bet on Germany or Easter Europe.

My thoughts exactly. France is nice in many way, but very aggravating how they are always on strike and do it without regards to the people who depend on services. I’ve only been there once, but was incredulous that they would subject tourists (guests to their country) to multiple strikes and often ruining parts of people’s vacations. Maybe vacations aren’t so important when you don’t work as hard.

Check the stats, French are the most productive worldwide. Having more vacation does not mean they are not working hard.

Generalities can be wrong many times,
which is a generality in itself.

I’m sad to see that people are buying false arguments about french labor, as they could be doing with EV. I thought the media treatment of the EV subjects will have educated people, I was be wrong.

As stated by the MIT, the issue in France is not labor laws but bad management.

Toyota is building its Yaris France, Renault is building its ZOE in France, without any issues.

Do not forget US, UK and most country have, some sort of lost their right to go on strike.

Talking about Germany, the labor costs are higher in the auto industry.

Basically, you are using unchecked and over simplified arguments, as someone would say that EV are generating more CO2 than gasoline cars.

Unhappily, the same argument (bad management to blame for French industrial unrest) cannot be levelled at French farmers, can it? And yet, they, too, are regularly creating mayhem for travellers (especially from here in the UK) by blockading the ferry ports in the north of France.

Sorry, but I think it is an issue much closer to the nature of the French – possibly along the same lines as their predilection for socialist politics.

The nature of the French ? Sounds a bit racist. It’s the same as stating that the nature of women tends to make them more prone to accident, or the nature of black people make them good basket ball players.

How can such arguments still be used in 2017 ?

We are talking about the auto industry, not the agro one.
Do not compare carrots and potatoes.

Don’t you know farmers have to sell their production at a price lower than the production costs, mainly because of European Commission and stores.
That is killing farmers (literally), what should they do, starving without a sound so that the poor UK guys won’t be blocked.

I really hope your comment is just trolling.

Well, apparently the nature of the French is to be more productive than Americans. So if Tesla can make it in the US, they should be fine in France as well.

Highlight France and the USA.

Ah, Americans – what simpletons! In fact, there’s a reason why companies that rely heavily on good people – smart people! – are giving their employees a treatment more like we do in Europe. These incredibly old fashioned ideas of yours don’t work! Science backs it up to. Productivity and motivation tends to go down, not up, when workers have little say. A right to strike ensures they do have something to say. But it’s actually very seldom that workers use this in the private sector. It is true this was regularly abused by workers in the SNCF (state train company) and RATP (Paris Métro and régional trains), but the government of Sarkozy took away some of their rights by introducing new laws that mean minimum service levels must be maintained even during a strike. Americans work a lot, but they aren’t nearly as productive as the French. If I were to be as crude and simplistic as you’re being here in describing France, I’d call the US a worker-unfriendly greed-driven hellhole where junk is considered food and employees who truly work just to survive, not to live, is the norm rather than the exception. I truly hope your side… Read more »

a good way to prove yourself simple is to generalize hundreds of millions of people based on the comments of a few. par for the course with you though, no?

I don’t think he/she is generalizing, despite is first sentence.
Don’t focus on the form.

Nice strawman and generalization about Americans, except I am from Eastern Europe.

Who said it is irrelevant. The attitude expressed did make me suspect you were of the American simpleton variety, but being EE simpleton variety doesn’t actually change thing. My point is authoritarian, employer-has-all-the-power, easy-to-fire-people, so called “business friendly” doesn’t actually work very well. People are more productive and companies more socially useful when workers have some power to influence how things are. And IMO we work to much in the entire Western civilization. When washing machines and other home appliances went mainstream in the 50s and 60s we were sold a vision where people would work less and live and love more. Fifty years later we work more than ever, and do so mainly to finance an ever increased consumption that science shows does not make us happy and that anyway isn’t physically possible to sustain. You are absolutely right that characterizing a nation in this way is overly simplistic. But look at the context and what I’m responding to! Stereotypes about France that are not just baseless, but the reverse of the facts. Worst of all, they are built on the assumptions that “business friendly” is somehow better than “human friendly” and that working as much as possible is… Read more »
Let me recapitulate the discussion so far: 1. Article talks about desire of French government to have a Tesla factory on its soil 2. I post comment expressing my opinion that Mr. Musk won’t choose France because of several facts and laws. 3. You (Terrawatt) post a comment about labor practices and about treatment of labor force and its average effect on the productivity. 4. I post a short comment that you are building a straw man ( since my argument is about decision where to build the factory from the point of Mr. Musk. 5. You double down in the same line of though, stopping short of calling me a randian zealot. I doubt I will get any value out of further discussion. Actually the whole thread degenerated to rather unpleasant “lazy french” stereotype. Greeks have long working hours and have quite low productivity. On average is the key word here. Let’s recap my arguments > Strike is nearly a national pastime in France. As you noted, the trains sometimes stop going. How does that affect input of raw materials and components and output of I just googled france train strike and got “France suffers as rail strikes drag… Read more »
> Strike is nearly a national pastime in France. It’s a false assumption. Plus raw materials are travelling mostly by trucks. > Combined with 35 hour workweek and Do you even know what it means ? French are working far more thant 35 hours a week. Don’t you know burnouts is in a surge ? > business unfriendly environment (there is a reason why so many French companies have exactly 49 employees), Having less that 49 employees just enable companies to redistribute less. If business friendly means profit, just call a cat a cat. Anyway, we are talking about a Gigafactory here, highly automated, which means labor cost have few impact on final product cost and profit. > hard-to-fire workers… Another myth. You can fire a worker, even illegally. Most companies do fire workers, it is even cheaper than giving a departure package. In most of the case, this will not go to a ruling: most workers do not know their rights, justice costs are high and it requires to much time and energy. > This is from French I have met (only a few, but it corresponds from what I have read). Is it making your arguments right ?… Read more »

FYI: according to eurostat, the mean worked time in France in 2014 for a fulltime workforce was 40,7 hours per week.

I see Terawatt is once again busily working to lower the standards of posts here. Not everyone can compete successfully in both the blowhard and the troll category, but clearly Terawatt has mastered both, um, “skill” sets.

Nice job of using cherry-picked figures to support your provincial, anti-foreigner bigotry, troll.

considering french labor laws, they have no chance in hell.

What law? Be specific. Something make me suspect you don’t actually know anything about French law. Just so you know, the French have opened up a bunch of loopholes to make possible the sort of modern slavery practiced by companies like Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, Burger King and a lot of other employers of low-skilled to unskilled workers. Tesla, Intel, Nvidia, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and so on aren’t worried about not being able to fire people. They worry about how to retain them. It’s expensive to recruit good people and it takes years in many cases to get a new person up to the productivity level of the person before them, because the work is that complicated. Good protection matters little to employees who have employers in line to hire them. It only constrains a company as long as they are profitable – is then difficult to become even more profitable by firing people, so they must try to find better ways to use the employees they’ve got. But if a company isn’t turning a profit there’s no legal difficulty in letting them go. Whether France is the ideal location for Tesla IDK. I would guess either there or in Germany. The… Read more »

LOL! Elon is too smart for that.

That I do not doubt.

However you can not blame him for trying.

Climate(lots of solar), access and low labor costs favor Spain.

Pro-Business, Pro-American, Pro-BEV anti-diesel French environment is the perfect place for the Euro-Gigafactory.

Elon may only get kidnapped a few times per decade.

I guess the “anti-diesel” is pure sarcasm.
France has been promoting diesel for decades. Currently, it still cheaper to run on diesel than gasoline (higher taxes on gasoline, incentives to run on diesel for businesses). If you look at the running costs of a Renault ZOE, thanks to fact that you cannot buy the battery, they are the same has a diesel car of the same category.
France have to deal with its 2 main energy lobbies: TOTAL (reduced EV adoption) & AREVA (reduced renewable adoption).

If the goals is to lessen co2 emissions, and you keep your self in the realm of fossil fuels, diesel is the way to go. It quite simply, and by far, the most efficient ICE there is.

On the short term, the goal is not CO2.
CO2 emission is what you use when someone want to hide the fact that diesel is carcinogen.
You are also totally ignoring the noise emissions.

But I’m not debating gasoline vs diesel, scientists have prove diesel is the worst.

I want to get rid of ICE.

My bet is on Germany as that is the key (and the most difficult) market for a non-german car manufacturer to succeed in. A Tesla Made in Germany will be great PR too…

Germany? For a full-on factory? Far too expensive. Also, very expensive electricity.

Poland or Slovenia — cheaper labor (latter also lots of hydro electricity) are more likely; if Western Europe, Spain is likeliest.

Goodyear tried a few years ago to buy a French tyre factory: see the letter of the CEO to the French minister: February 8, 2013 Mr. Arnaud Montebourg Ministere Ou Redressement Productif 139 rue de Berey Teledoc 136 75572 Paris cedes 12 Dear Mr. Montebourg: I have just returned to the United States from Australia where I have been for the past few weeks on business: therefore, my apologies for not answering your letter dated 31 January 2013. I appreciate your thinking that your Ministry is protecting Industrial activities and jobs In France. I and Titan have a 40-year history of buying closed factories and companies, losing millions of dollars and turning them around to create a good business, paying good wages. Goodyear tried for over four years to save part of the Amiens jobs that are some of the highest paid, but the French unions and French government did nothing but talk. I have visited that factory a couple of times. The French workforce gets paid high wages but works only three hours. They get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three and work for three. I told this to the French union workers to their faces.… Read more »

Sorry, it is Titan trying to buy a Goodyear factory.

What is your point ?

My point is: in some companies in France, unions rule, and they kill the business. In some sectors, printing of the press, dockers, public transport, public education and many others… the situation is terrible. It was impossible to Titan to work with this factory, but for instance there is a big Toyota factory in the north of France, and it works very well; be careful when you put tour feet in France! Finally, I think that the letter of the CEO of Titan to the minister is excellent because it is not politically correct, and it tells the truth.

You are right when you say the unions rule in France, but not in the way you are thinking: the 2 most powerful unions have been helping the governments to reduce the labor cost since 1983.
Last year, the most powerful one have be asking the gov to use the 49-3 (brute force law passing).

Be assured soon there will be no more strike.

And yes, the situation is terrible in education because all the reforms have been aimed at destructing it (there is no private education, since the gov is paying for the so called “private” teachers).

Concerning Titans, there is no need to read between the line of M.Taylor letter: he wants the lowest labor costs.

What should be done in France, lower the labor costs to China’s levels ? The work is in progress, but yes it is taking time.

Then, who will by the 35k$ cars most French cannot already even buy ?

Exactly, this letter tells the truth about what these sort of multinationasl want for worker wage in all the world, Europe and US inclusive,
“… Titan is going to buy a Chinese tire company or an Indian one, pay less than one Euro per hour wage,…”
So mister Alfred, I hope you will please to earn 1 EURO PER HOUR right now!No? So what? 99% people of world workers at 1 euro per hour is soooo goood for you…now tell me who will buy cars?!!!!

Mr Taylor was OK to buy Goodyear Amiens. He was OK to pay French wages. He says then “I have visited that factory a couple of times. The French workforce gets paid high wages but works only three hours. They get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three and work for three. I told this to the French union workers to their faces. They told me that’s the French way!” Here the culprit is the CGT (communist), a mafioso-style union, who frequently uses violence as argument.
Mr Tylor is bringing a lot of money to make this factory live, and the CGT is laughing in his face…

People are working 3 hours a day, laughable.
You do not have a clue.
Why being so hateful against French ?

The CGT is one of the two unions I am citing above.

Thanks for ignoring my previous comment.

I thought Tesla said something about Eastern Europe for the Gigafactory 2, or was that just a rumor?

Anyway, for some reason the French courting Tesla makes me think of Elmer Fudd trying to court Bugs Bunny when the latter is in drag! 😉 Bugs isn’t serious there, and I seriously doubt that Tesla is seriously thinking about putting a major manufacturing facility in France.

The same goes for Australia, it is seriously business unfriendly. Union muscle, red tape, high minimum wages, much cheaper to import.

An old nuclear power plant as a site for a factory? What could possibly go wrong?

***mod edit (staff)***
fixed, thanks!
***mod edit***

Model x and s are a niche market that can be supplied from the US. All they need to build is a model 3 and or model Y there. A gigafactory can be built wherever suitable in Europe.

I live in France for 17 years now. It’s a wonderful country to live in. But if you want to get work done, it’s hell. France did everything wrong you possibly could do wrong in the field of EVs and charging infrastructure. Mistakes are finally corrected when they are becoming 100% obvious, but the main philosophy seems to be: why do things simple when they can be done complicated.

Tesla, don’t do it.

For all that reasons, it would maybe be the best move to help electro-mobility in Europe !

Could you develop the “But if you want to get work done, it’s hell.”.

The French gov didn’t did well when they tried to suppress the bonus for electric cars above 40.000 euros, which target german cars and specially Tesla. Now, it seems that they reversed this decision, but maybe it’s to late.

Yes the french gov is not doing well, the gov has to deal with its friends from PSA, Renault, TOTAL, etc.

Maybe if politics were assured disappearing jobs in auto industry will be replaced by Tesla jobs, it will help increase the transition.

Anyway, keep in mind Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi is selling most of EV worldwide.

My hope is that the new Zoe 40 will be ordered at numbers far above construction capacities, both for Renault and other car makers (specially PSA for France) be able to see that they can substitute ICE car factory by EV factory conserving jobs.

My other hope is that Elon Musk seeing the outstanding success of the Zoe in Europe this year (hopefully), will reverse his decision to cancel his compact fourth generation car and put it back to the new master plan he announced some months ago, and maybe, maybe, we may have a compact EV from Tesla with a 250 real miles range, beginning at $22.000 for 2020.

In the mean time, the only thing Renault needs to be sure of their success is terminated this thing of leasing the battery of the Zoé, and reduce the base price to some 26.000 WITH BATTERY!

Bad qualifying performance. 😉

Well France has 8 times the population and still they buy only the approx. same number of Teslas.

Maybe Gigafactory #2 should be built in Styria (Austria) and becoma a co-sponsor of the RedBull Ring Formula 1 circuit. :))

i.e.: 8 times population of Austria.

Give them the money, they will buy Tesla.

Thomas Piketty’s analysis and commentary on the economic productivity in France and Germany, and using USA as a baseline comparison.

It might surprise some – it did me. They are basically the equal of the US. UK and Italy not so. It’s also interesting his reasons why it has become so.

Thanks for the reference.

A much more interesting possibility is the UK, post Brexit. In the ‘heart’ of Europe but outside the EU…

Yeah, sure, absolutely.

It might surprise you to know that Elon has already complimented the UK for it’s Motor Industry, virtually the entire F1 industry is here & the Nissan Sunderland plant churned out 500,000 + vehicles last year alone !

Outside the EU means, that you have to pay 10% tax to import the cars in the EU. And additional you have the risk of currency fluctuations.

Not necessarily !

Canada has now signed a free trade deal,

A weaker currency more than offsets that 10% even if it was that high (which I seriously doubt it will be), on top of that, corporation tax could be much lower also !

If, only if, UK succeed in getting from Europe the good (free market) without to have to participate in all the duties that this free market needs to work fine. Sincerely, I think all other European people will not accept that. It’s like someone who decided to quit his work would want to receive the same wage of other workers that are keep working there! UK is out by free will, it should be out for every thing, so will have to pay import tax for all products that they will want to export to Europe Union market like any other outside country, period. so producing cars in UK and then exports them to European Union market will cost more than producing inside European market. UK decided to quit, now it will accept the consequences, and they will not be free from pain!

Of the 500,000 vehicles produced from Nissan plant in Sunderland, 80% were exported,

It would simply not be in Europes own interest to make life difficult as we import more from them than they do from us, in short, they would be cutting their own throats !

We would simply stop buying VW’s & Citreon’s and start driving Nissan & Tesla’s, Merkel (basically the EU) will soon have something to say about that !

Anti-Lord Kelvin said:

“…producing cars in UK and then exports them to European Union market will cost more than producing inside European market.”

That seems almost certain. We have yet to see the terms under which the UK will exit the EU, but surely it’s wishful thinking to believe that the UK could still get all the free trade advantages of belonging to the EU without supporting the organization. It is possible or even perhaps likely that the UK can negotiate a lower tariff, but people thinking there won’t be any tariff at all for any products, is almost certainly self-delusion.

I doubt that it will be France.
Especially the Fessenheim site is ridiculous. The nuclear plant is still in operation. It will take decades to decomission it and for decontamination of the area.
Eastern Germany or Western Poland just behind the German border are more likely. Skilled workforce available, highly motivated to work for lower wages than western Germany or the South, tons of subsidies from government for anyone creating jobs there, and easily accessible by railway for transportation throughout Europe. Also, plenty of flat area for giant buildings housing alien dreadnoughts.

A car factory needs engineers and workers with skill. Alsace/France like Fessenheim, Colmar, Strassburg, Hagenau, … is very close to Daimler/Porsche (Stuttgart, Germany), Peugeot (Mulhouse, France) and Smart (Hambach, France).

Engineers and skilled workers are widly available all over Europe.

Most of them have a job already.

When you want to hire a few 1000 in one spot, Southwestern Germany is going to be an expensive choice (talent is there aplenty, but not available), whereas in Eastern Germany (due to a higher unemployment rate and lower cost of living) significantly lower wages are common. As a matter of fact, cost of living is so low that in some regions guys from Poland move to Germany (for living close to the border). For the cost of a small appartment in Szczecin (Poland), you get a nice house in any adjacent village in Germany).

In addition, Tesla will probably built a hihgly automated manufacturing site only (with some quality control, but R&D will be conducted elsewhere).

I’m not sure that a Tesla factory feeding by electricity from coal plants like in Poland will get the attention from Elon Musk…and putting solar panels in the roof of the factory would do far better in Spain or Portugal.

It’s not a smart move for Tesla.France is under state of emergency.
Terrorism,Racism France is really turning to hell hole.

Well, Tesla is doing fine in the USA, with a so-called racist president.
This should be a good point for France.

Speaking about terrorism, it is a well know fact that statistics can be done in a 2 years span.

Here is a video from the mayor of Châteauroux (center of France) trying to convince Elon Musk to build a factory in his town.

Tesla, Welcome to Châteauroux !