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Tesla recruiting Mexican engineers for US plant

REUTERS, SAN FRANCISCO

Tesla Inc is recruiting engineers from Mexico to work on robotics and other automated equipment at its California factory, according to LinkedIn postings, part of a hiring push to ready the plant for mass production of the Model 3.

The electric automaker aims to build 500,000 cars a year by next year at its plant in Fremont, California. That would be a six-fold increase from last year.

A recruiting poster published on LinkedIn by Tesla senior technical recruiter David Johnson listed 15 types of engineers the company would be seeking at a recruiting event from Friday to Monday next week in Monterrey, Mexico.

The Silicon Valley automaker is under the gun to accelerate production and save money as it readies for volume production of the Model 3 in September.

The company’s future profitability hinges on its success, and high hopes for the mass-market vehicle have helped push Tesla shares up 47 percent since January.

Mexico boasts a substantial pool of manufacturing engineers, with 19 automotive plants owned by global automakers including General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co and Volkswagen AG.

Johnson wrote in a post that he hoped to interview manufacturing and mechanical engineers with experience in “Body in White” manufacturing — the stage of assembly in which sheet metal components are welded together to make up the outer frame of the car.

“We are looking for controls, robotic and weld engineers!” another Tesla employee, Dominik Knapp, wrote on his LinkedIn page.

Tesla has been hiring in the past few months for assembly-line jobs at the Fremont plant, but finding manufacturing engineers, who are in even shorter supply than software engineers in Silicon Valley, is a tougher challenge.

Doug Patton, president of SAE International, a professional association of automotive engineers, said Tesla’s search for engineers in Mexico underscored a dearth of talent in the industry.

“There are many more jobs than engineers; this is an engineering problem across the board,” he said.

US automakers and suppliers sometimes bring employees from Mexican plants to the US for short-term assignments, but Patton said he had not heard of any company recruiting on a “wholesale basis” as Tesla appears to be doing.

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