January 7, 2020 / 10:12 AM / 20 days ago

German carmakers eye Brandenburg after Tesla expansion push

Brandenburg’s Economy Minister Joerg Steinbach attends a Reuters interview after the German state was chosen by electric carmaker Tesla as the location for building its European Tesla plant, in Berlin, Germany, January 6, 2020. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

BERLIN (Reuters) - The German state of Brandenburg has received a flurry of inquiries from German carmakers after electric car start-up Tesla (TSLA.O) opted to build its European factory there, Brandenburg’s Economy Minister Joerg Steinbach told Reuters.

Tesla in November said it would build its European factory on the outskirts of Berlin, a major boost for the region after BMW (BMWG.DE) and Daimler (DAIGn.DE) in recent years chose Hungary as a location for their new plants.

“We are seeing the traditional German manufacturers, who are opening up more to new technologies, asking whether it is possible to do something in Brandenburg,” Steinbach told Reuters in remarks published on Tuesday.

“They’re asking: What made you interesting for Tesla?” Steinbach said. “We are noticing a pull effect,” Steinbach said about Tesla’s decision.

Microvast, a company specialized in fast charging and battery solutions, will build a factory in Ludwigsfelde and BASF (BASFn.DE) is mulling whether to build an electric car battery cell production facility in the region, Steinbach said.

BASF’s management board is due to decide in the next six to seven months whether to formally approve the investment, Steinbach said.

Brandenburg’s state capital Potsdam, home to a university, and the region’s proximity to Berlin means companies can draw from a pool of academics. Tesla will have no problem finding talented assembly workers given that rivals Audi, VW and BMW are cutting costs, Steinbach added.

Reporting by Andreas Rinke and Edward Taylor; Editing by Michelle Martin

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