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How Tesla-Toyota Project Led to Culture Clash by Opposites: Cars

Four years ago, Tesla Motors Inc. Chairman Elon Musk invited a fan to his California home and let him take the Roadster sports car out for a spin. His guest: Akio Toyoda, president of the world’s biggest automaker.

The two hit it off so quickly that within weeks, Toyota Motor Corp. agreed to buy a $50 million stake in Tesla and sold a shuttered California factory to its new partner for a mere $42 million. They also agreed to retrofit the Toyota RAV4 utility vehicle and considered extending the collaboration to an electric Lexus RX SUV, a person familiar with the matter said at the time.