Friday, March 1, 2024

Why was Elon Musk in Monterrey? It wasn’t “by chance”, according to NL governor García

The world’s richest person, Elon Musk, could inject some of his vast resources into Nuevo León, as the tycoon is reportedly considering a municipality in the metropolitan area of Monterrey as the location for a new electric vehicle (EV) plant.

The Tesla and SpaceX magnate was in the northern border state last weekend, where he met with Governor Samuel García and other state officials as well as U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar, according to reports.

Musk, who is currently attempting to close a messy deal to buy Twitter for US $44 billion, is believed to be considering Santa Catarina as the site for an EV plant, presumably to be operated by Tesla. Tesla executives accompanied the 51-year-old South African native in his meeting with Nuevo León officials.

Located just west of Monterrey, Santa Catarina is a seven-hour drive from Austin, Texas, where Tesla is headquartered. The EV manufacturer’s Mexico-based suppliers already have their own private lane at a Mexico-U.S. border crossing thanks to a deal the company struck with the García-led state government earlier this year.

Nuevo Leon, Mexico, Governor Samuel Garcia
“I’m very optimistic and very happy about what’s coming for our state – that’s why the richest people in the world come here; it’s not by chance,” Nuevo Leon Governor Samuel García said after reports surfaced that he and state officials had met with Musk in Mexico. Samuel García/Twitter

Nuevo León officials have said little about the meeting with Musk, citing a confidentiality agreement they entered into with the businessman, but the governor and his social media influencer wife Mariana Rodríguez posted several screenshots of media reports about the encounter to their Instagram “stories.”

One of García’s posts was overlaid by an emoji showing two hands clasped together, apparently indicating that García is praying for Musk to invest in the state. The baby-faced, social media-savvy governor said Monday that Musk was attracted to Nuevo León by the business-friendly environment the state offers.

“I’m very optimistic and very happy about what’s coming for our state – that’s why the richest people in the world come here, it’s not by chance,” García said at the launch of a new online portal for business-related bureaucratic procedures called “Agiliza Nuevo León,” (Speed Up Nuevo León).

“In Nuevo León, as always, we must be an example of how to do things,” said the governor, who highlighted that his state is a job creation powerhouse and a magnet for foreign investment.

Tesla lane at the Columbia Solidarity International Bridge U.S. Mexico border
Tesla employees and employees of their supply companies in Mexico already have their own lane at the Colombia Solidarity International Bridge crossing, north of the Laredo, Texas, crossing.

State Economy Minister, Iván Rivas, one of the other officials who met with Musk in Monterrey, said that authorities are “analyzing” what they can do with Musk, who has a net worth of US $219 billion, according to Forbes’ 2022 World’s Billionaires List.

He noted that suppliers to Tesla and other EV manufacturers have already set up shop in Nuevo León, an industrial hub and one of the engine rooms of the Mexican economy. Rivas said that any investment from the world’s richest person would be a good thing before telling reporters at the Agiliza Nuevo León event, “We can’t really talk about the issue because we have a confidentiality agreement.”

Musk said earlier this year that both Mexico and Canada were being considered as possible locations for a Tesla manufacturing facility.

“We are looking at sites [in the United States for a new plant], but we are considering some site options more broadly in North America, so including Canada and Mexico and the U.S. as well,” he said in June.

With reports from El País, Reforma, Reuters and Excélsior 

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