OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma has launched a new effort to lure the automotive industry, and state economic leaders say there’s room for growth in the recent race to land a Tesla plant.
Oklahoma has secured 2,700 resumes of engineers and other highly trained individuals and has laid out a convincing case that Tesla’s costs for manufacturing in Tulsa would be 25-35% less than costs in Austin, Texas, The Journal Record reported Wednesday.
Secretary of Commerce and Workforce Development Sean Kouplen offered an after-action review of the effort to land Tesla and comments about the growing potential for automotive investment during an online meeting held for business leaders and others.
Kouplen compared Oklahoma’s new commitment to developing the automotive industry within its borders to its dedication to aerospace, a major employer rivaling the energy and agriculture sectors in driving the state’s economy.
“We feel like when you take all of those factors, and then you lay out all of the benefits we were able to show Tesla — great location, great cost of doing business, great manufacturing workforce, all of the things that make Oklahoma a manufacturing mecca — we’re basically going to do the same thing in automotive that we did in aerospace a few years back,” Kouplen said.
Oklahoma would also fare favorably to other states in the recovery of its economy amid the pandemic, according to Kouplen. The state managed a 3.4% increase in gross domestic product while GDP across the U.S. declined by 33% in the last quarter– the largest drop in a quarter in the nation’s history.
Kouplen said there’s no doubt struggles will continue, but compared to other states, Oklahoma has responded well to historic challenges.