The auto industry around the world is on the move – not only, but to a large extent, by the trend towards electrification triggered by Tesla and stricter emissions regulations. One of the results of this is that the two auto companies Fiat-Chrysler (FCA) and PSA Group recently merged to form the new 14-brand Stellantis group. FCA has so far been one of the largest buyers of Tesla carbon credits, but thanks to the French contribution with economical and electric cars, Stellantis does not want to make any more CO2 payments to Tesla this year. For the mechanical engineering company Comau, which brought in the Italian side, the merger, on the other hand, has negative consequences, because it is losing orders – but it is getting new ones from Tesla.
Comau systems for three Tesla factories
According to information from teslamag.de this January, Tesla ordered tons of robot technology from Comau in China for its German Gigafactory near Berlin. A total of 180 standard and 10 special containers with production systems should actually arrive at the construction site in Grünheide as early as March. So far, local observers have not reported such large deliveries, which could be related to the fact that the start date for Giga Berlin was recently postponed.
Another Tesla order could possibly arrive at Comau earlier, in this case for the USA: Applications to the city of Fremont indicate that Tesla would like to install new automation technology from the Italian Stellantis subsidiary in its plant there, reported on Friday Blog Teslarati. During the Corona crisis last spring, CEO Elon Musk threatened to give up this Tesla location in the long term, but for the time being the main plant is also growing. For example, a tent structure that will be used for the production of the Model Y will give way to a permanent building, according to reports from this February.
It is conceivable that Comau technology will be introduced on this occasion – the Teslarati report does not reveal exactly which machines Tesla would like to use and to what extent. But in response to this on Twitter, a regular observer of the emerging Gigafactory in Texas reported that the company’s systems will also be used there: “Comau has been installing robots and other automation technology in Giga Texas since the beginning of February,” wrote @JoeTegtmeyer.
Together with the German one, this already makes three Tesla factories, in which the robot machine builder founded by engineers in Turin in the 1970s comes into play. It would then be obvious that the quite new gigafactory in China is also there. In his home country, however, according to a report by the Italian publication The Post Internazionale (TPI), Comau has long been affected by the region’s dwindling importance for cars and has been even less in demand since the Stellantis merger. At the end of April, Comau in Italy announced nine weeks of leave for 157 of its 900 employees, reports TPI. According to the unions, group companies in particular, as the most important Comau customers, have canceled orders.
Gigafactory China earlier due to NIO crisis
So perhaps a crisis elsewhere in the turbulent auto industry will help Tesla again to get cheaper or at least faster production facilities for further growth. It was like that in China in 2019: At that time, the start-up Nio had financial problems and had to postpone the construction of a factory. The Pressen-Straße for it, however, had already been ordered and paid for, reported Nio founder William Li later. Fortunately for both sides, he found a grateful buyer in Tesla in the same country. The system landed in the Gigafactory in China – according to Li six to seven months earlier than would have been possible without pre-ordering Nio.