Tesla opened its first manufacturing location in Fremont, California, repurposing the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc (NUMMI) plant that had been opened in 1984 and was jointly owned by Toyota and General Motors. Between 1984 and 2010, some 8 million vehicles were manufactured here and the factory’s peak annual production was reached in 2006 with 428,633 vehicles built.
However, with an estimated 444,600 vehicles built in 2021, Tesla officially surpassed the GM-Toyota joint venture’s best annual figure. That equates to around 8,550 vehicles built per week in Fremont last year, which is more than any other car plant - next came Toyota’s massive Georgetown, Kentucky facility, which last year built cars at a rate of 8,427 vehicles per week, followed by the BMW factory in South Carolina with 8,343 vehicles per week, then another Toyota plant, the one in Princeton, Indiana coming in fourth place with 8,200 cars built per week.
In January of this year, the Tesla Fremont plant was officially recognized as the most productive car factory in the US, a notable achievement given that it’s all kind of jumbled together based on changing needs and it doesn’t look like the most organized car plant, at least when you fly a drone overhead...
Gallery: Tesla Fremont Factory
But the automaker is only looking up. Its Giga Texas facility was built with even bigger ambitions, to churn out 1-million vehicles per year, or around 20,000 each week. It also features many improvements that speed up the car building process, the most important of which being single-piece casting parts for the front and rear parts of the chassis, as well as the structural battery pack in the middle - this is now only implemented for the Model Y, but it is seen as the way forward by Tesla.
Tesla doesn’t have plans to give up on the Fremont plant, though, as Elon Musk says they may increase production by around 50 percent, although he didn’t say how the company would achieve that. According to Electrek, which got hold of a recording of a recent companywide Tesla meeting where this was mentioned, quotes Musk as saying
We are now the biggest car factory in North America. That’s pretty sick. Sometimes people are surprised, like “Tesla is making cars in the Bay Area?” Yeah not only we do, but we have the biggest car factory in North America.
We also recently exceeded the number of cars produced from when it was a Toyota/GM factory, and I think we even have the potential to beat that number by 50%.