Tulsa pulls out all the desperate stops to woo Tesla…

The Tulsa World recently reported that electric car maker Tesla is choosing between Austin, TX and Tulsa as the home for its new truck factory. Here are the details:

Tesla has picked Austin, Texas, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, as finalists for its new U.S. assembly plant, a person briefed on the matter said Friday.

The person says company officials visited Tulsa in the past week and were shown two sites.

It wasn’t clear if any other finalists were in the mix. The person didn’t want to be identified because the site selection process is secret.

That’s cool. Although the news was probably leaked by Tesla in an effort to get both cities and states to toss more public subsidies their way, it’s cool that Tulsa is even being considered for this honor. Oklahoma could use all the non-oil patch related jobs it can get! Plus, it would be awesome, in a poetic irony sense, to have the world’s premier electric auto car company manufacture its trucks in the former oil capital of the world.

The Tulsa Ruling Class must be aware of this, too. In a shameless, desperate attempt to woo – or possibly even creep out – the company, they have doctored up one of the town’s most famous monuments – the 75-foot tall Golden Driller – to make it resemble Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Check it out:

Once again, I think it’s great that Tesla is using Tulsa to get a better bid from Austin. Who knows? Maybe this haymaker will actually work and we’ll see Hipster Boo Boo and Grimes racing concept vehicles up and down the Turner Turnpike, but doesn’t this feel a tiny bit desperate? It seems like all the time and energy spent to deface this statue would have been better spent making Tulsa look like it has a larger airport, or doctoring statistics so Tesla will think Oklahoma has en educated enough workforce to staff the factory.

It also sets a bad precedent. Let’s pray to Oral Roberts giants hands (I can’t wait to see what Tulsa does with that one) that Facebook doesn’t consider moving any of its operations to Oklahoma City, or Mayor Holt may stick Zuckerbird’s paper mache head on the Milk Bottle Building, and then tweet selfies from it every day.

That being said, we wish Tulsa the best of luck in getting Tesla, and can’t see what desperate thing they do next. I’d suggest just renaming the town Tesla. You just need to swap the “s” and “l” and replace the “e” with a “u.” It wouldn’t be that difficult.

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16 Responses


  1. I find it ironic they choose to honor Musk using what was built to be a point of pride for the oil industry. Isn’t it a bit insulting to both parties?


  2. I’m shocked our Oil Overlords would allow the discussion.


  3. “Although the news was probably leaked by Tesla in an effort to get both cities and states to toss more public subsidies their way…”

    Exactly. With Tulsa allegedly in the contest, Austin might be more generous with its own giveaways to Tesla. It can’t hurt for Tesla to try.

    Tulsa vs. Austin? Seriously? Maybe I’m wrong, but I bet that Tesla has already decided on Austin. But if Tesla needs a call center…

    The Golden Driller’s new face looks more like Michael Myers’ mask than Elon Musk, but the Driller wasn’t close to handsome before the makeover.


  4. ELON: Now Tulsa, what kind of incentives are we talkin’ ’bout all up in here? No taxes? You’ll fund 90% of the factory? I get to paint my name real big on the roof of the mayor’s house? You’ll waive all OSHA regulations? Or what? Whaddya got?

    TULSA: You’re a billionaire, you fund your fucking factory yourself. We don’t have the money to fund a one-room schoolhouse here, much less your bullshit factory. Pay for it yourself.

    ELON: Then I’m taking my factory and going HOME! [cries like a spoiled child, or a billionaire who wants everything his way…but what’s the difference, really?]


  5. Tulsa can take SpaceX from us in the Rio Grande Valley at Boca Chica. Musk’s likely going to blow us all to hell – South Padre Island, Port Isabel and Laguna Vista – when liquefied natural gas refineries are built and his rocket launch explodes. You can have those two clusterf*cks, too, and put near Cushing or the Port of Catoosa in keeping with the Tulsa theme. The oil and gas lords there would be thrilled as well! You’re welcome to all of it. Get the idiot and SpaceX and LNG over there and out of here as soon as possible!


  6. Maybe reach-arounds are a part of the incentive package?


  7. We should have this decided in a shoot-out considering the gun laws in both states.


  8. As a lifelong Tulsan I suppose the Tesla plant here would be a plus. We have the world’s worst drivers, which means big greasy wrecks all over the few streets and highways not currently under repair, which means Tesla could sell some cars here…And, Tulsa is better situated geographically to meet Musks’ desire to be close to the middle of the US. In fact I was mildly optimistic for Tulsa as the destination for Tesla, until I saw the Tulsa World headline Thursday, saying Stitt wants to help Tulsa get the plant. Well, hello Austin…Aaaak! With Gov. Stump (half Stitt, half Trump)helping, we’re doomed. Given Stumps’ success with health care in Oklahoma (only about 350,000 voters signed a petition to call a special election on extending Medicaid, directly opposing Stump) and his handling of “Indian affairs”, which has alienated virtually all of the hundreds of thousands of Indians here, that’s only about 500,000-600,000 Oklahomans who directly oppose Stump. So he is offering to help out Tulsa, by sharing the wave of popularity he has amassed in his first two years. With friends like that…


  9. I think the one thing that might sway Elon would be if Tulsans point out to him that Tesla spelled backwards is Aslet.


    1. Make that Alset.


  10. Austin might have a chance IFF, and only if the state of Texas changes the franchise laws so that Tesla can sell their vehicles in the state.


  11. A little OKC jealousy?


  12. Oklahoma City scored a big coup years ago when they landed the General Motors plant. But after the thing was hit by tornadoes 3 times, General Motors said “Screw this” and left. The risk vs. benefit ratio was just too high and understandably so. It’s one of the big reasons we don’t have any more manufacturing industry in the state, when there is a very high chance that your infrastructure will be blown off the map every single year, most companies will just say “No thanks” and go to somewhere like Austin, which does indeed carry some risk but not nearly the level of Oklahoma. It’s sad, and will forever limit our state’s ability to recruit new manufacturing, but it’s just a fact.


    1. GM didn’t leave because of the tornados. GM left because they were over leveraged with building fuel inefficient SUV vehicles right when oil jumped to $100. If the plant had continued to make Malibu type car vehicles instead of being retooled to make terribly designed SUVs like the Isuzu Ascent and the extended version of the Chevy Trailblazer, it might still be around. It’s a big “if” because GM had to have a bailout in 2008 to keep them in business, but at the time, coupe sized cars were in vogue.

      Does anyone remember Governor Brad Henry encouraging Oklahomans to buy the GM suv models that were being built here to convince GM to keep the plant? Oklahoma leadership has been bad for a long time.
      #Oklahomastandard


    2. And to think all this time I just thought it had to do with excessive kickback requirements and having to work with this State’s government bureaucracy that has major issues from top to bottom.


  13. So gross (Elon AND the pandering).

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