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Tesla chooses Austin, Texas as location for Cybertruck factory

Tesla's Fremont, California factory employs around 10,000 people.

Photo courtesy of Tesla Motors

Work is already underway on Tesla's next U.S. factory in Austin, Texas. Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the news today putting an end to months of speculation that lead to sites in the Lone Star State to be considered and cities including Tulsa, Oklahoma attempting to woo the electric car manufacturer.

The 2,100-acre site sits near the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Previous reporting by numerous sources revealed that Tesla had a $5 million option to purchase the property, which has around two miles of frontage on the Colorado River. A sand and gravel mining company currently operates on the site, which is off Texas State Highway 130, just south of Harold Green Road. Google already marks the site as Tesla GigaAustin.

Tesla Fremont Factory Tesla is looking to expand production in the U.S. beyond the confines of its Fremont factory.Photo courtesy of Tesla Motors

"Tesla is one of the most exciting and innovative companies in the world, and we are proud to welcome its team to the State of Texas," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement. "Texas has the best workforce in the nation and we've built an economic environment that allows companies like Tesla to innovate and succeed. Tesla's Gigafactory Texas will keep the Texas economy the strongest in the nation and will create thousands of jobs for hard-working Texans. I look forward to the tremendous benefits that Tesla's investment will bring to Central Texas and to the entire state."

Travis County, where the plant is located, recently approved to grant a tax break for the company that is projected to amount to $14 million in savings on property taxes over the next 10 years. The Del Valle school district, where the site is located, also approved a tax holiday for the company, granting approximately $50 million in tax rebates over the same timespan.

Tesla has promised to reinvest 10 percent of the tax rebate amount back into the community.

The company is planning to spend $1.1 billions to built a 4 to 5 million square foot factory on the site that will employ around 5,000 acres according to documents filed with Travis Country. Workers would earn an average salary of around $47,000 and have benefits and stock options. Minimum pay will be $15 per hour. The workers would not be unionized.

The factory will be company's second automotive plant in the U.S. The other is located in Fremont, California and employed around 10,000 people.

Tesla intends to make its new Cybertruck at the facility in addition to Tesla Model Y crossovers, Model 3 sedans that are destined for delivery in the Eastern U.S. The Tesla semi truck is also slated for production at the site.

On an earnings call today, Musk said that the plant will be an "ecological paradise" and it will be open to the public.

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Mitsubishi Motors North America is adding 10 new dealerships in the U.S.

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors North America

Mitsubishi Motors North America has added 10 new dealer partners to its nationwide sales network. The company is also investing in dealership upgrades and launching a number of new models in the coming year.

The list of new dealerships includes:

  • Auto World Mitsubishi in Bedford, Ohio
  • Crossroads Mitsubishi-Lumberton in Lumberton, North Carolina
  • Foundation 45 Mitsubishi in Houston, Texas
  • KDK Mitsubishi in Brunswick, Ohio
  • Nielsen Mitsubishi in Rockaway, New Jersey
  • Redondo Mitsubishi in Redondo Beach, California
  • Route 17 Mitsubishi in Ramsey, New Jersey
  • South Shore Mitsubishi in Freeport, New York
  • Team Mitsubishi – Hartford in Hartford, Connecticut
  • Jim Shorkey Mitsubishi-Youngstown in Youngstown, Ohio
Foundation 45 Mitsubishi is located just off I-45 on the east side of the interstate about halfway between Houston and Spring, Texas. It is next to CarMax.
Arrotta's Mitsubishi in Spokane, Washington also just completed construction, undergoing an extensive renovation as part of the brand's new Visual Identity Program. Dealerships that undergo renovations evolve to feature a retail space colored in muted black and gray tones with red accents. There is clean branding throughout the showroom and "Drive Your Ambition" brand messaging is present.

"We continue to invest in and improve every aspect of the vehicle shopping experience with our dealer partners, and we are thrilled to have 10 new partners join the Mitsubishi Motors brand," said Mark Chaffin, Chief Operating Officer, MMNA. "2021 is a pivotal year for Mitsubishi Motors, with one all-new and three substantially revised vehicles that are now arriving in dealer showrooms. New or long-standing, it's an exciting time to be a Mitsubishi dealer, and we're looking forward to working together with all of our dealer partners to make the most of this opportunity for mutual success."

New versions of the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross and Outlander will be making their way to dealer lots in the U.S. The revised Eclipse Cross and completely redesigned Outlander are just two of the new models that Mitsubishi is planning to sell in North America this year.

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The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz was designed to be capable of taking owners to their next adventure.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The story of the Hyundai Santa Cruz goes back at least eight years. It was seven years ago this January that the Santa Cruz Concept was launched at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). At the time, a representative from Hyundai told PickupTrucks.com that it would "likely take at least three or four years" to bring the truck to market in the U.S., but that it would only happen if "gauged interest is strong and positive".

The good news is that reaction was positive. Now, nearly a decade after that debut the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is a reality. What took so long? Hyundai broke it down this week.

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz as a working clay model

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

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The Santa Cruz was always meant to be a compact truck. The Santa Cruz Concept was a little longer than a Hyundai Tucson and today the 2021 Tucson is slightly shorter than the 2022 Santa Cruz.

Hyundai noted during a Q&A session today that one of the main drivers for the truck was the public's desire to have a truck that was more fuel efficient.

The third generation of the Hyundai Tucson debuted in 2015. Its fourth generation comes to market this month as a 2021 model. In the years between, alternative fuels development went from something like, "Oh look! A Prius!" to "Audi is adding its fourth and fifth new EVs for the U.S. by the end of 2021". Today, pretty every automaker has committed to a clean emissions future, which has necessitated the innovation of new platforms and new propulsion strategies.

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz design sketches

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

It wouldn't make good business sense to debut a new vehicle on an outdated platform. It also helps to streamline the manufacturing process if many products can share a production line using the same architecture. So, it was always going to be years down the road.

Hyundai's design team in California took the lead with the Santa Cruz design. Unlike some concepts that come into reality, the aesthetic of the Santa Cruz wasn't changed from spicy cinnamon into a bland vanilla to make it appeal to the masses. Hyundai kept it unique, if not a little weird, and completely unlike anything on the market today.

According to the design team, the Santa Cruz was never going to share a grille with the Palisade. While the look of the Palisade is brash, bold, and upright, the team didn't feel that it was right to transfer that look over to the Santa Cruz. The truck has ended up with a variation of the Tucson's grille, but given the muscular aesthetic of the truck, it plays differently on the forthcoming model.

Early in the design process, a Hyundai employee described the vehicle's target audience as the folks who park on the side of the road to go surfing, saying that they go from their home, down the highway, to the beach, and need something they can throw gear and boards in that also won't crowd the driveway at home and parallel parks easily.

It was with those design priorities that the 2022 Santa Cruz came to life.

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