Tesla has been trying to enter the Indian market for a long time, but high import duties have so far scuttled any attempts by the Texas-based automaker to sell their cars in the country. While there have been no discussions between the two parties for over a year, Tesla is reportedly sending a team of executives to India this week in an apparent attempt to restart negotiations.
The possibility of Tesla launching in India has been around as far back as 2015, when CEO Elon Musk met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with the latter receiving a personal tour of the Fremont factory. Tesla fans in India were hopeful an official launch and the start of sales in the country would happen in 2019, but nothing came to fruition. It looked like 2021 might be the year Tesla would officially expand into India after incorporating in the country, and several cars were spotted being tested on local roads.
However the extremely high import duties, which can be as much as 100% on EVs with a value higher than $40,000, continued to the major roadblock. Tesla asked for the duties to be lowered so it could import and sell its vehicles to test the level of demand in the country, but the government said Tesla must first build a manufacturing facility before it would consider lowering its import duties.
Talks between Tesla and India effectively came to a stalemate in early 2022 with neither party willing to budge on their position. After more than a year apart the two sides are apparently willing to start discussions again.
According to a report from Bloomberg, Tesla will be sending a team of “C-suite” executives and managers to India this week. Although no names were mentioned, the employees are reportedly from Tesla’s supply chain, production, and business development teams. It is expected Tesla will once again request India lower its import duties, sources familiar with the planned meeting.
Although neither Tesla nor the Indian government has confirmed the upcoming meetings, it seems like an accurate report considering Musk began following Prime Minister Modi on Twitter last month, something which reignited hope among fans in India that they might be able to purchase a Tesla directly from the company.