Tesla CEO Elon Musk is set to meet next week with Indian Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal to iron out potential terms of the company’s entry into the Indian market, according to reports.
The meeting will hopefully be the first point of significant movement in Tesla’s hopes to bring its vehicles to India, something the automaker has attempted to do for several years.
After meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this year, which included an encouraging discussion regarding the future between the company and the country, Musk was more convinced than ever that things would move in the right direction.
Sources told Reuters in a report that Musk and Goyal will meet in the U.S., and their discussions will be focused on a potential Tesla production facility in India, one that will manufacture a $24,000 EV for the massive market in the country.
Tesla has been discussing a car around that same price point in several other markets, including China, Mexico, the U.S., and as of last week, Germany.
Additionally, Musk and Goyal will discuss a new policy that India is reportedly working on that will allow automakers to import fully built EVs into India at a significantly reduced import duty rate of 15 percent.
This has been the major bottleneck in a partnership between the two, as Tesla has tried to import vehicles to test demand in India. Still, the government has not been keen on the idea as it prioritizes localized production.
Import duties can sometimes double the cost of a vehicle in India. This fact would eliminate any possibility of Tesla getting a true and accurate gauge of demand for its vehicles in the country.
The meeting is reportedly a way to ensure that talks “are moving in the right direction,” the source said.
The talks between Tesla and India have been going on for years, and the lack of movement on import duties has usually stalled them. If Tesla and India could come to terms with reduced import duties, the automaker would have a viable and accurate way to test demand, and it could lead to a new production facility in India.
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