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Tesla gearing up to expand in Lathrop in 2019
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It has been four years since electric car manufacturer Tesla announced that they would be taking over an existing building in Lathrop to make components and parts for their wildly popular vehicles. 

And this past year the Silicon Valley company proved that they don’t have any plans on leaving Lathrop anytime soon. 

The first sign that Tesla’s long-term plans included Lathrop came when the company started using a portion of the shuttered Pilkington float glass manufacturing plant as a staging area for shipments of all of their vehicles that are assembled at their Fremont plant. Originally home to New United Motors Manufacturing Incorporated – joint venture between GM and Toyota that provided tens of thousands of jobs to the Bay Area for decades – the plant closed and was ultimately reclaimed by Tesla to use as its manufacturing facility for what was then just it’s line of Model S sedans. 

Since then Tesla has expanded its offerings to include both the crossover SUV Model X and the compact Model 3 – all three of which have been shipped into Lathrop on a weekly basis to sit in neatly-aligned rows off of Louise Avenue as they await shipment to their final destination. The discovery of thousands of Tesla vehicles sitting in the Central Valley sun prompted internet attention from blogs and news agencies that cover the company, and according to media outlets Lathrop became the second such staging area in the state after one down in Southern California was discovered. 

While the short-term storage was a good sign of the company’s dedication to making Lathrop part of its plans, the more permanent option came in October when it was announced that they would be constructing a new manufacturing building adjacent to the old glass plant that will more than double their existing manufacturing footprint in the city. 

The original, 431,000-square-foot building will still be used but will be augmented by the new 870,000-square-foot building – which will be constructed on land that used to be part of the Pilkington campus – that will serve the company in unspecified ways. The notoriously secretive Tesla – which is the brainchild to eccentric billionaire genius Elon Musk, who is no stranger to the spotlight and likes to court controversy – has not indicated what the use of the building will be at this time, but it’s inclusion will be the third physical location in the city that will serve their manufacturing interests after a South Korean company believed to be manufacturing parts for Tesla’s operations opened in the city last year.  

During his comments to the public and to the Lathrop City Council prior to being sworn in as mayor earlier this month, Sonny Dhaliwal noted that Tesla was one of the things that “put the city on the map” – pointing out that a senior level executive from the company was in attendance, showing the working relationship between the city and the administrators at the company. 

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.