FREMONT, CA — Tesla Inc. is calling some workers back to its lone U.S. vehicle-assembly plant here starting this week, before San Francisco Bay area stay-home orders are scheduled to expire. Supervisors told some staff in the paint and stamping operations of the factory to report to the facility on April 29. In messages seen by Bloomberg News, plant leaders ask workers to reply and say whether they plan to show up.
Tesla had previously communicated to workers that it expected to resume normal production on May 4, the day after Bay area health measures are slated to end. The electric-car maker clashed with Fremont officials last month over whether its factory was an essential business or otherwise needed to shut down to comply with an Alameda County order issued in mid-March.
The Fremont plant builds every vehicle currently in Tesla’s line-up —the Model Y, 3, X and S—and last produced cars on March 23. Analysts at Credit Suisse Group AG estimate that the factory’s shutdown has been driving about $300 million of cash burn per week.
When Tesla was resisting calls to idle the factory last month, Fremont officials sought clarification from Alameda County as to whether the company was an essential business. Erica Pan, the county’s health officer, considered the plant to be a public health risk, according to documents obtained through a California public-records request.
While carmakers Volkswagen AG, Toyota Motor Corp and Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd. have said they intend to restart operations early next month, the United Auto Workers union has said that’s too soon and too risky for its members, who work for General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and other manufacturers.