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Tesla buys West Michigan tool and die company


Tesla will acquire Riviera Tool in Cascade Township, renaming the company "Tesla Tool and Die Factory."

The Silicon Valley-based auto and battery manufacturing company has used Riviera as a supplier before, but the acquisition means Tesla will become the factory's only customer.

Analyst Karl Brauer of KBB says Tesla is preparing to launch the Model X, an electric crossover.

He says CEO Elon Musk wants to be able to meet the 2016 launch date, and produce the vehicles more quickly than Tesla has been producing the Model S, an electric luxury sedan.

As to why Musk would look to Michigan, he says the state "is kind of the central vortex of automotive assembly and design. When it's coming time to really become a high-volume car maker, it isn't surprising he has to go to Michigan to get the kind of help he needs.

Apparently, Musk doesn't hold a grudge, at least not when it comes to business decisions. 

He earlier denounced the Michigan Legislature for passing a bill, which Governor Snyder signed, that requires all vehicles to be sold by a franchised dealer in Michigan.

Musk wants to set up company-owned stores to display Tesla cars and give people test drives, but the Michigan law prohibits that.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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