Tesla Motors passes Toyota as California's largest carmaker

Tesla Motors is the largest company in California, overtaking Toyota which has been based in California since the late 1950s. The question now is if Tesla Motors will build its highly-anticipated gigafactory in the Golden State.

Robert Galbraith/Reuters/File
A Tesla Motors logo is shown on a Tesla Model S at a Tesla Motors dealership at Corte Madera Village, an outdoor retail mall, in Corte Madera, Calif. Tesla employs more than 6,000 workers in California.

Toyota has been based in California since arriving in the U.S. in the late 1950s, but last month, the company announced plans to pack its bags and move to Texas. Thought the U-Hauls won't arrive for at least two more years, Bloomberg reports that Toyota has already lost its crown as California's biggest car company.

That crown is now worn by none other than Tesla Motors.

The news came as Tesla revealed the full size of its workforce in the Golden State. The electric car company (which everyone should probably stop calling a start-up) currently employs over 6,000 workers in California, and Tesla intends to add 500 more to its payroll before the end of the year. Toyota, by comparison, has just 5,300 corporate employees. 

That doesn't make Tesla the state's biggest employer -- that honor goes to the State of California (especially its sprawling university system), followed by companies like Nestle, which boasts some 20,000 employees.

However, the fact that Tesla is growing its California operations does make the automaker something of an anomaly. It's not cheap to do business in California, due to stringent regulations and significant labor and energy costs -- the latter of which rings in 55 percent higher than in other parts of the country. Part of Tesla's rationale for sticking it out may be the technological innovation that's found in companies throughout California, particularly the Bay Area where Tesla is based. 

Now the question on everyone's mind is whether Tesla will up its investment in California even more by building its gigafactory (or perhaps, gigafactories) there. California is on the list of five states being considered for the facility, but odds are against it -- again, due to costs. Most analysts believe that chances are much better for Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, or Texas. 

For more on Tesla's size and future plans, check out our colleagues at Green Car Reports.

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