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Tesla’s German automation expert reportedly ousted after just six months

Tesla’s German automation expert reportedly ousted after just six months


Disagreement with Musk preceded departure

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Klaus Grohmann, founder of the German firm Grohmann Engineering which specializes in automated manufacturing acquired by Tesla late last year, was just ousted after clashing with the electric carmaker’s CEO, Elon Musk, Reuters is reporting.

Grohmann reportedly disagreed with Musk over how to handle his firm’s legacy clients, according to the news wire, which included Tesla competitors like Daimler (parent company of Mercedes-Benz) and BMW. Musk wanted the German manufacturing facility to focus solely on building Tesla vehicles.

It was only six months ago that Tesla acquired Grohmann Engineering, with the firm’s founder agreeing to head a new division within the automaker called Tesla Advanced Automation Germany. The acquisition was the linchpin in Tesla’s plan to add an additional 1,000 engineering and technician jobs in Germany, on top of Grohmann’s existing 700 employees, over the next two years. This was to happen parallel with the company’s aggressive plans to ramp up electrical vehicle production at its Fremont, California, factory. Tesla has stated its goal is to produce 500,000 vehicles by 2018. 

Before the acquisition, Grohmann worked with a number of other automotive manufacturers, as well as semiconductor and life science companies. At the time, Tesla said Grohmann would continue to work with outside clients, including those in the automotive industry. But over time, those directives apparently changed, leading to Grohmann’s ousting.

A spokesperson for Tesla didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. But in a statement to Reuters, a spokesperson praised Grohmann Engineering as “an incredible company,” and said Tesla’s plans to expand its manufacturing operation in Germany would not be affected by his departure.