Love is all around in Toyota-Tesla deal

May 21, 2010

The stunning romance between global auto giant Toyota Motor Corp and Silicon Valley startup Tesla Motors began like a Hollywood tale – with a date in a fast car.

“I received a call that Mr. Toyoda was interested in meeting with me the next time he was in California, and I said that sounded great,” Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla said.

The two men hit it off when they met in Musk’s home in Southern California about six weeks ago and went for a drive in the pricey electric Roadster sport car.

“We just drove around Los Angeles, mostly around Westwood initially,” Musk said. “We were mostly talking about random things.”

Toyoda, a car enthusiast and active amateur racer, took the wheel and put the sports car “through its paces,” Musk said. “He was not shy.”

The ride in the Roadster, which can accelerate faster than a Ferrari, effectively sealed the deal for the partnership and the two hashed out a plan to solidify their mutual admiration.

“I love cars… their cars are just magnificent,” Toyoda said of the Roadster in an interview with Reuters.

When asked why he picked Tesla for a partner among all the electric car startups, Toyoda looked at the younger CEO and said, “Muskchan, I love him.”

Musk, not to be left behind, quipped back, “Love you too.”

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