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Tulsa picked as finalist for Tesla's new factory

FILE - In this May 14, 2015, file photo, Tesla employees work on a Model S cars in the Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
FILE - In this May 14, 2015, file photo, Tesla employees work on a Model S cars in the Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
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DETROIT (AP) — Tesla has picked Austin, Texas, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, as finalists for its new U.S. assembly plant, a person briefed on the matter said Friday.

The person says company officials visited Tulsa in the past week and were shown two sites.

It wasn't clear if there were any other finalists in the mix. The person, who didn't want to be identified because the site selection process is secret, said no final decision has been made.

The new factory will be Tesla's biggest so far. The electric car maker has said it wants the factory to be in the center of the country and closer to East Coast markets.

The stakes are high for state and local governments, which covet auto factories because they have a lot of workers and normally pay well, generating income and property taxes.

Tesla's current U.S. vehicle assembly factory is in Fremont, California, which employs 10,000 workers. The company has a second U.S. factory in Reno, where it builds batteries for its vehicles and employs about 6,500 people. It also has a factory in Shanghai and another one under construction in Germany.

Companies typically use proposals from finalists to bargain for the best package of tax breaks, site investments and other incentives.

The new factory would build Tesla's upcoming "Cybertruck" as well as be a second site to build the Model Y small SUV.

On the company's earnings conference call in April, Musk said the site of the company's third U.S. factory could be announced within a month. Musk calls his plants "Gigafactories."


Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum on Friday evening released the following statement on the report that Tulsa is a finalist for a Tesla factory:

“While I can not comment on potential projects, it is clear that Tesla and Tulsa were forged in the same spirit. Both founded by pioneers who dreamt big and made it happen. Both trying to change the world with a new kind of energy. Both investing big in what matters most: people. Tulsa is a city that doesn’t stifle entrepreneurs - we revere them. And as Tesla continues to rapidly change transportation all around the world, I can’t imagine a better place for them to further that important work than Green Country.”

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt also released this statement Friday evening:

“To the press, we can't comment on any pending proposals.
To Elon Musk and Tesla, the people of Oklahoma love our trucks, we love our rockets and we would love to partner with you here in our great state. As a Tulsan myself, I can tell you that confusing the names Tulsa and Tesla has happened more than once, so it would only be appropriate to have a Tesla factory right here.
Oklahoma is open for business and our world-class workforce, business-friendly policies and caring people make us an excellent choice for companies worldwide. When you consider our state’s central location – providing access to a wide customer base – and Tulsa’s nationally-recognized quality of life and strong manufacturing workforce, we would make a great long-term partner for a world-class company like Tesla.
When you factor in our state’s automotive engineer workforce tax credit, it makes even more financial sense for Tesla to set up shop in Tulsa.”
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Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Regional Chamber, released this statement:

“We at the Tulsa Regional Chamber are always thrilled at the prospect of a major new employer coming to northeast Oklahoma. Companies like Google and Amazon have already seen how much our region has to offer in terms of innovation and attitude. We have the land, infrastructure and workforce that could support a Gigafactory. Elon Musk has said he wants a Cybertruck facility based in the center of the country. We can go one better than that: Google ‘Center of the Universe’ and you’ll find it’s Tulsa. We are a region of dreamers and doers, and we are home to people with unabashedly big ideas. We are confident we could be a tremendous home to a company such as Tesla as well.”

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