Like Amazon, Tesla started off by producing one innovative offering that addressed just a small portion of the total market it wanted to go after, and has gradually expanded its product line. And like Amazon, the company has absorbed substantial losses in the name of fleshing out its ambitious vision, and become a deeply polarizing subject among investors.
And just like Amazon, Tesla has long treated the infrastructure that enables its main offerings as a core competitive advantage, one that it's willing to invest heavily in to gain an edge on rivals. Tesla's battery-producing Gigafactory and supercharger network both serve as examples. So does, of course, the investments Tesla has made in creating highly-automated, robot-filled, production lines at both the Gigafactory and the company's giant Fremont, California car manufacturing plant.
On Tuesday, Tesla added to its automation investments by striking a deal to buy Grohmann Engineering, a 700-plus employee German firm proclaimed by the company to be "one of the world leaders in highly automated methods of manufacturing." Terms are undisclosed; the deal is expected to close in early 2017.
Tesla has already been working with Grohmann for over a year on projects related to its relatively low-cost Model 3 sedan, which the company plans to begin shipping in late 2017. "Several critical elements of Tesla's automated manufacturing systems" will be made at Grohmann's Prüm, Germany headquarters, according to the company.