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Tesla, Toyota's Fremont Revival of the NUMMI Auto Plant Has Residents Estatic

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On: Mon, May 24, 2010 at 11:43AM | By: Michael Jon Lazar

Tesla, Toyota's Fremont Revival of the NUMMI Auto Plant Has Residents Estatic

The city of Fremont, California is buzzing with giddiness. This is for a very good reason. After taking a huge economic blow during the housing market collapse (which greatly affected the state), as well as the combined decline and near fallout of the auto market, the city is starting to rebound. This is because Toyota—who co-owned with GM the NUMMI auto plant in Fremont, which employed around 5,000 autoworkers, but was closed down early in 2010 by both entities due to declining auto sales—has announced that they plan to reopen the plant in the near future to start producing a new line of electric cars to be branded by Tesla.

This could not come at a better time for the residents, the businesses, and the entire town of Fremont. Bringing back thousands of high-paying jobs to the area could really revive this once prosperous but now struggling town. And the Mayor of Fremont could not be any happier about this prospect.

In an interview with Mercury News, Bob Wasserman, the mayor of Freemont, expresses his gratitude and explains why he is thrilled about the NUMMI plant being reopened. “In a great big hurry, our fortunes have changed. We're thrilled to see something good happening with that property. It'll employ a lot of the folks who just lost their jobs, but it'll also be a catalyst to bring.”

The citizens and business owners also share Wasserman’s positive vibe about the plant springing back to life. The plant was officially closed on the first of April of this year. Since that time, many businesses have really struggled to operate as unemployment rates in the town have skyrocketed and people are tightening their belts, staying in more, going out less, and stashing their cash, just in case.

Saki Kavouniaris, an owner of a steakhouse and cocktail lounge in the area, has seen a serious decline in sales, to the tune of nearly 30%, since the plant was first closed. In the same news article she expresses her contentment with the announcement that plant will be reopened in the near future. “This is like Christmas in May,” she said. “When the dot-com died, we lost a lot of manufacturers and Fremont's had a lot of ups and downs ever since. I was starting to think this place must be jinxed. But the future looks a lot brighter now than it did two months ago.”

The announcement of the plant’s reopening is great news for this town. It is expected to bring another 1000 jobs to the struggling Bay Area suburb right away, which are greatly needed. In addition, Tesla has projected that over the next few years there could as many as ten times that number of jobs available for workers. That’s a big leap from the original 4,700 employed there before the plant’s closure.

Indeed, things are finally starting to look up again for the town of Fremont. Things also look pretty good for Tesla and Toyota too. The plant will be used to for manufacturing Tesla’s newest electric car: The electric Model S. The car is expected to retail for around $50,000 US, once it hits showroom floors.

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