Tesla Is Recruiting Mexican Engineers for Its California Assembly Plant

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Tesla Motors is headhunting engineers from Mexico to work on automated equipment at its Freemont, California factory. While the brand can still call the forthcoming Model 3 “the most American” car in the world — once it takes delivery of Nevada-produced 2170 battery packs — it might not be able to make the same claim for its workforce.

The brand has had union troubles with the German robotics unit supplying the automated assembly lines essential for the Model 3’s timely production. While the recruitment effort in California may not be a direct response to that, it is definitely part of Tesla’s efforts to ensure it can adhere to the timetable it has set for the electric vehicle. The company has preorders out the wazoo and wants to build 500,000 cars a year at the Fremont plant by 2018, which requires a sextupling of 2016’s production figures.

Obviously, the production upsurge would be impossible without added man hours. According to postings on LinkedIn found by Reuters, Tesla’s hiring push in California has expanded beyond the confines of the U.S. border. Items posted by Tesla’s senior technical recruiter, David Johnson, listed 15 types of engineers the company hopes to find during a May 5-8 recruiting event in Monterrey, Mexico. Johnson specifically wrote that he was interested in interviewing engineers with experience in body in white manufacturing.

Another Tesla employee, Dominik Knapp, also posted about the event on his LinkedIn page saying “Check this out if you are interested to work with the most complex and automated equipment in our Fremont plant! We are looking for controls, robotic and weld engineers!” Knapp also referenced the successful recruitment drive Tesla held in Mexico City last year in a response to interested parties.

While there will be some speculation that Tesla’s outsourcing of engineers is down to cost-saving measures, president of SAE International Doug Patton claims there really is an absence of adequate engineering talent in the industry. “There are many more jobs than engineers, this is an engineering problem across the board,” he said.

Patton went on to explain, while automakers and suppliers routinely seek help from their Mexican plants on a short-term basis, he was unaware of any company recruiting on the same “wholesale basis” as Tesla appears to be. However, we don’t know how lengthy an engagement the manufacturer has planned. Tesla has yet to respond to any request for comment on its Mexican hiring plan.

[Image: Tesla]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Healthy skeptic Healthy skeptic on May 02, 2017

    Why is this story post-worthy on TTAC? It basically says "Tesla attempts to hire engineers wherever it can get them." As any company does.

  • Salzigtal Salzigtal on May 10, 2017

    Given that there are several hundred other firms actively recruiting engineers to work in Silicon Valley and the housing costs, Musk may have to look even further away.

  • El scotto Wranglers are like good work boots, you can't make them any better. Rugged four wheel drive vehicles which ironically make great urban vehicles. Wagoneers were like handbags desired by affluent women. They've gone out of vogue. I can a Belgian company selling Jeep and Ram Trucks to a Chinese company.
  • El scotto So now would be a good time to buy an EV as a commuter car?
  • ToolGuy $1 billion / 333.3 million = $3 per U.S. person ¶ And what do I get for my 3 bucks -- cleaner air and lower fuel prices? I might be ok with this 🙂🙂
  • VoGhost Matt, I'm curious why you write that inventory levels are low at 74 days. Typically, 60 days is the benchmark for normal inventory.
  • Jeff Arthur Dailey--If you really want to see a similarity between Chevy and Cadillac look at the 71 Chevy Caprice compared to the 71 Cadillac Deville more similar in looks than the 61s. Motor Trend even had an article comparing them and stating that you could buy a comparably equipped 71 Caprice and save thousands. The 1971 Chevrolet Caprice/Impala: Value-Priced, Cadillac ... YouTube · Rare Classic Cars & Automotive History 16 minutes, 53 seconds Feb 3, 2024