Tesla reached another corporate milestone this week, making its first acquisition, Michigan tool and die manufacturer Riviera Tool. The company will be renamed the Tesla Tool and Die Factory, and most of the 100 employees are expected to stay on, the Detroit News reported.
“This acquisition enables Tesla to bring additional capabilities in-house, streamlining production and facilitating the introduction of Model X and increased production at the Tesla Fremont (California) factory,” said Tesla spokeswoman Alexis Georgeson. “This is our first presence in Michigan.”
Riviera makes large stamping die systems used to produce automotive sheet metal parts. Past and current customers include the Big Three, BMW, Nissan and Daimler. The company is already an important supplier to Tesla. Georgeson said Riviera will finish its contracts with other automakers, then concentrate exclusively on supplying Tesla.
Industry observers praised the move as a way for Tesla to gain more control over its supply chain. “It’s another sign [Musk] is growing up – he’s becoming a real automaker,” said Karl Brauer, a Senior Analyst at Kelley Blue Book. “He’s learning quickly that as you grow you have to have more access to production capability.”
“He’s just about to launch an all-new model,” Brauer continued. “He went to where he could get the best deal on the best supplier to move things forward quickly. I think it’s very possible you’ll see more acquisitions, and they’ll be where it makes most sense.”
Tesla reiterated its plans to produce 55,000 vehicles this year, growing to a “few million a year” by 2025.