Tesla executive Klaus Grohmann left the company last month after a clash with the electric carmaker’s Chief Executive Elon Musk, a source familiar with the matter told new agency Reuters.
The Silicon Valley company acquired German automotive supplier Grohmann Engineering last fall. At the time of the purchase, Tesla described Mr. Grohmann and the company he founded as a “world leader in highly automated manufacturing”.
The recent fallout is reported to have revolved around the strategy of Mr. Grohmann’s firm. Tesla planned to keep Mr. Grohmann on, and he wanted to stay, but the clash with Mr. Musk over how to treat existing clients resulted in his departure, the source told Reuters.
Mr. Grohmann disagreed with the Tesla founder’s demands to focus management attention on Tesla projects to the detriment of Grohmann Engineering’s legacy clients. These include Tesla’s direct German-based rivals Daimler and BMW, two sources familiar with the matter said.
Based in Prüm, a small town near the Belgian border, Grohmann Engineering specializes in automating factory production, which is essential to the upcoming release of the Tesla Model 3.
Investor confidence is counting on the world’s first mass-market electric car, priced at $35,000, which the company hopes will launch the brand from the luxury sector into the mainstream.
Around 400,000 Tesla Model 3s have already been pre-ordered, and the company has plans to ambitiously increase production capacity from 84,000 to 500,000 next year.