FRANKFURT -- Elon Musk picked a glitzy event in Germany, a few hours' drive from the birthplace of the internal combustion engine, to drop the news that Tesla plans to open a factory in the country.
Tesla will round out its global manufacturing network with a factory near Berlin, along with an engineering and design center, Musk said at the Golden Steering Wheel awards ceremony in the German capital on Tuesday attended by the CEOs of Volkswagen, Audi and BMW.
"Everyone knows German engineering is outstanding for sure. You know that is part of the reason why we are locating Gigafactory Europe in Germany," Musk said at the l awards.
The news wasn't completely out of left field. Musk has said before that Tesla would announce the location for a factory in Europe before the end of this year, and that Germany was a frontrunner. But it nonetheless bolstered the CEO's flair-for-the-dramatic reputation.
Fresh off a surprise profit report that sent Tesla shares surging, Musk threw down the gauntlet in front of rival executives that Tesla can no longer be dismissed as a niche automaker.
"Elon Musk has an ability to make a splash," said John Boyd, principal of a manufacturing site-selection firm based in Princeton, N.J. "Not only does Germany bring top-level manufacturing skill sets and positive supply chain dynamics to the table, but there is a cachet value to Tesla establishing a brick-and-mortar presence in Germany, a nation synonymous with precision car manufacturing."