Tesla would enter India "as promised".
Tesla has reportedly started recruiting for leadership and senior-level roles in India.
This comes as it looks to break into one of the world’s biggest emerging car markets.
The electric car maker is recruiting for positions including a head of sales and marketing, and a head of human resources.
In January 2021, Tesla boss Elon Musk stated that Tesla would enter India after years of speculation.
Speculation first arose in 2017 when the carmaker received Indian orders for the Model 3.
A Tesla fan tweeted Elon Musk, asking when he would launch an India market. He replied, saying he was targeting a summer 2017 date.
On January 13, 2021, he tweeted that Tesla would enter India “as promised”.
This came in response to a report on a Tesla-focused blog that the automaker was in talks with several Indian states to open an office, showrooms, a research and development centre, and potentially a factory.
In May 2021, it was reported that Prashanth Menon was made India CEO.
Tesla is looking at announcements from Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding changes to India’s goods-and-sales tax that may reduce the cost of owning an electric car.
It is also waiting for further incentives for electric vehicle makers under India’s production-linked incentive program before it makes a move into the country.
Under the production-linked incentive, manufacturing incentives will rise each year in an effort to entice the world’s biggest brands to make their products in India and export to the world.
In May 2021, India’s government approved a $2.5 billion plan to boost battery storage capacity to 50-gigawatt hours.
However, Tesla’s move into India may be a challenge. Unlike China, India is new to electric cars.
Tesla’s first factory outside of the United States was set up in Shanghai. It now dominates sales of premium electric vehicles in China.
Electric vehicles account for around six per cent of China’s annual car sales. This is compared to less than one per cent in India.
The cost of Tesla cars is also a problem.
Although India is home to a lot of middle-class people, expensive cars remain out of budget for most of the population.
The lack of charging infrastructure is another obstacle to large-scale electric vehicle adoption.
For its first plant, Tesla has reportedly chosen Karnataka.
It has now been reported that the manufacturer has been negotiating with local officials for six months and is actively considering car assembly in the suburbs of Bengaluru.