Tesla CEO Elon Musk with India Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Tesla ‘Giga India’ potential reignited with reports of planned visit

India Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits the Tesla Fremont Factory in 2015.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk and other top Tesla executives are expected to visit India later this week to discuss numerous supply-related issues and opportunities.

Being one of the most populous countries in the world and also one of the fastest developing in Asia, India has quickly become a hot spot for investment and business. However, despite this market opportunity, incredibly high taxation and a complex legal structure have kept many automakers, in particular, outside of the South Asian market. Now, that may be changing with Tesla executives and its CEO Elon Musk heading there to discuss the potential for “local procurement.”

As initially reported by Reuters, Elon Musk is expected to visit India this coming Wednesday and Thursday to discuss “local procurement of parts and other concerns.” It remains unclear if Tesla would be interested in constructing a facility in the country. Still, with rising political pressures to leave China, many businesses, including Tesla, may be pushed into the arms of the Southern Chinese neighbor.

Neither Tesla nor the Indian government has confirmed the trip to India.

As recently as last year, Tesla planned an entrance into the Indian car market, even going as far as hiring local staff and attempting to establish its first showroom location in the country. However, after being unable to lower the import tariffs for its vehicles to be delivered to India, Tesla was forced to pause its expansion indefinitely. As pointed out by Elon Musk, vehicle tariffs in India are some of the highest in the world, reaching as high as 100% of a vehicle’s value for some vehicle types.

This incredibly high taxation rate, which Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has maintained to help entice local manufacturing, has come at the expense of many auto brands which have abandoned the market in recent years. Most recently, Ford was forced to abandon a multi-year and multi-billion dollar expansion effort into the country after being unable to overcome the high taxation costs and market challenges.

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Tesla ‘Giga India’ potential reignited with reports of planned visit
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