India on Elon Musk’s radar as Tesla hunts for factory site

Days after a Tesla team visited India, the company’s founder and CEO Elon Musk has indicated that India is on the electric carmaker’s radar for setting up a new factory.

In an interview to The Wall Street Journal, Musk said that the electric carmaker would select a new location for a new factory by the end of this year, and added that India could be an interesting proposition for such an expansion.

Asked what would be the most exciting country to build a Tesla plant right now, Musk said, “We announced that Mexico would be our next location outside the US. We’ll probably choose another location later this year.” “

Asked whether India would be an “interesting” contender for the move, he said, “Absolutely.”

Musk’s words, while being noncommittal on India, set off speculation that the electric carmaker might finally be seriously looking at the country, especially after he has previously talked about launching his cars here, complaining of “challenges” and high cost. expressed a wish. import duty in doing so.

Tesla’s team visit just a week ago has only strengthened the buzz, which is getting credence even as the government is also open to bringing the company to India. Earlier, the company had sought a reduction in import duty to ship the cars to the country on a trial basis.

Last week, Minister of State for IT and Electronics Rajeev Chandrasekhar told TOI that officials at Tesla’s headquarters held a meeting with some wings of the government, where they were encouraged to consider investing here.

He said, ‘Yes, he had meetings with the government. We have told them that we would like to see them invest in India and will work with them as they set up their plants here. “We told them that India is now a reliable destination for all players in the supply chain of electronics and electric vehicles.”

Tesla had done a detailed market research about bringing its cars to India about two years ago, but decided not to pursue the matter last year after failing to get any special incentives from the government.

The company had been seeking concessions on import duty to directly introduce its cars in the country, but the government refused to play ball, citing the example of others like Mercedes-Benz, Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra, which are local manufacturers. Making greens at the level.

The government was also concerned over Tesla due to reports that the company may import cars from its China factory, which is seen as a no-go zone due to rising tensions.

Currently, India imposes a 100% duty on imports of fully built cars with a CIF (cost, insurance and freight) value of more than $40,000 and a 60% duty on cars costing less than that amount.