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‘Lot of challenges with govt’: Musk on launching Tesla in India

Elon Musk will have a difficult time establishing a presence in India for his Tesla. “Still working through a lot of problems with the government,” the billionaire wrote on Twitter, in response to a user who inquired about the status of Tesla’s launch in the country.

Since 2019, Musk has started promoting his automobiles in India. Talks between the American electric vehicle pioneer and Centre have come to a halt over a local manufacturing and the country’s potentially 100 percent import tariffs.

The Centre has reacted angrily to Musk’s remark. Tesla may import cars in CKD (totally knocked down) form and assemble and sell them here with no tariff. India has implemented a PLI plan for the car industry, specifically for electric vehicles, under which Tesla will gain if it manufactures in the country.

Tesla is attempting to exert pressure on the government via social media, and this is not the first time, according to government officials, who added that Musk was attempting to persuade the Centre to lower import levies on automobiles without committing to produce in India.

Musk said last month that India’s import levies are among the highest in the world, and that the country treats renewable energy vehicles the same as gasoline, which contradicts the country’s climate ambitions. A facility in India is “very likely,” according to the billionaire, assuming the California-based automaker can first test the waters by importing automobiles.

Tesla’s proposal for a tax break on imported electric vehicles has gotten a mixed response. The move has the support of Volkswagen AG’s India unit and Hyundai Motor India Ltd., while Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. has called for a reassessment of import duties as well as lower domestic levies.

The government has pushed Tesla to increase local procurement and provide precise manufacturing plans, while Musk has sought for lower taxes so that Tesla may begin selling imported vehicles at a lower price in a budget-conscious market.