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Tesla CEO Elon Musk says he's interested in closed General Motors plants

Musk aims to grow Tesla production

DETROIT – In an interview with "60 Minutes," Tesla CEO Elon Musk seemed to quietly fire a shot at General Motors.

Musk was asked about GM's decision to close plants in North America.

"It's possible that we would be interested if GM were to sell a plant or not use it, that we would take over, yeah," Musk said.

Musk is one in a long line of automotive mavericks, and while he's a billionaire and thinks on a grand scale, he's not had the kind of year that makes the industry think he can go and buy more existing plants.

"I'm certainly under insane stress and crazy hours, but the system would have failed if I was truly erratic," Musk said.

Earlier this year, Musk tweeted that he wanted to take Tesla private, naming a price and appearing to smoke marijuana on a podcast, which are all SEC no-nos. He paid a $40 million fine and gave up the board chairmanship.

"If somebody comes and makes a better electric car than Tesla and it's so much better than ours we can't sell our cars and go bankrupt, I still think that's a good thing for the world," Musk said.

General Motors intends to make all of that happen. It hasn't allocated product for five plants after 2019.

Musk bought his California plant from Toyota for $40 million. The plant was shared with GM before the bankruptcy.

"The likelihood of this happening is very low, and also for $40 million is a minimum, so he's not going to get the kind of deal he would have in the past," Gartner Auto analyst Mike Ramsey said.

Musk is building a Child plant and probably can't afford any more.

"They're not making money," Ramsey said. "They have a lot of expenses coming up and they have a lot of vehicles they're planning to get out. So something eventually is going to have to change at Tesla. It does have to reach a level of profitability."

Another issue for Musk buying the GM plants is he's had problems retrofitting the old Nummi plant in California to his needs. He'd be facing the same problem in Michigan or Ohio.


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