Tesla is reportedly ready to send Model 3 units to India in preparation for testing phases in the country, according to local reports. Additionally, the all-electric sedan could be ready to be sold by the end of the year through Tesla’s online Design Studio.
For years, Tesla has teased the possibility of entering the Indian automotive market. However, as the company has plenty of demand in the country, not many of its cars are present there due to hefty import taxes that nearly double the cost of the vehicle. Elon Musk has hinted toward the possibility of bringing Tesla to India for several years, but the company made no real moves until late 2020.
Musk told a Twitter follower that 2021 was the year Tesla would finally enter the market. And so far, so good. The company applied for and obtained several business licenses so that it could sell vehicles and energy products and also registered its company in Maharashtra, according to documents released by India’s Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
Tesla has also hired several high-ranking employees for its operation in India. The company recently brought on Porsche alumni Samir Jain for the role of “Lead Aftersales – Regional Service Manager – India.”
Model 3 Testing in India
According to reports from India’s CNBC Affiliate TV 18, Tesla plans to bring Model 3 vehicles to India by July or August for testing. The primary reasoning for the testing is so the vehicles can obtain approval from the Automotive Research Association of India, or ARAI. In addition, Tesla and ARAI will test the vehicles for crash safety, emissions, and other important automotive metrics that will be required before the sale of the cars.
Some sources in India say that Model 3s have already landed in Mumbai for testing, and more could be on the way.
Tesla Showrooms, Hiring Push, and Pace of Execution
Tesla is still planning for 3-4 showrooms in India in major metropolitan areas such as Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Delhi. While the executive team is currently composed of just a handful of members, Tesla will continue to try and add new executives to the team that will benefit the push in India. The automaker will look to expand the team within the next few months, and the Senior Leadership will operate out of Mumbai, the report said.
Additionally, the pace of the project will be a slow, calculated effort. Tesla will go slow with the plans, testing its sales and demand in major areas before expanding to other regions of the country. India is the second-most populated country globally, only trailing China, where the company already has a well-established consumer base. The company “may look at a franchise model for Aftersales Workshops in India, the report also mentions.
Potential End-of-Year Ordering
Tesla could open its India Design Studio on its website by the end of the year, the report states. Then, depending on the result of Tesla’s testing phase with the Model 3 in India, orders could begin to open up to potential buyers. Still, deliveries may not occur until late 2022 or early 2023 since Tesla will have to establish some manufacturing lines in the country. However, there is back-end work already underway by Tesla to the vehicle ready for approval and the potential sale by the end of 2021.