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Tesla’s India Plans: Musk Cancels Modi Meeting, but India Still Aims for EV Investment

Tesla’s India Plans

After Musk broke up with Modi, did Tesla give up on India?

New Delhi — Elon Musk’s last-minute cancellation of his trip to India to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sparked debate and disappointment in the country. Despite the cancellation, Tesla is still expected to proceed with building production in India, as the country is set to become the world’s third-largest automobile market in 2022.

Tesla’s entry into the Indian market is seen as a strategic move to tap into the growing market and provide customers with sustainable transportation options, with the government working to promote electric vehicles through incentive schemes. While challenges such as high import taxes and regulatory policies remain, Tesla’s expansion into India is expected to make the electric vehicle market more competitive and drive innovation among local automakers.

Key Concepts

  • Elon Musk’s last-minute cancellation of his trip to India sparked debate and disappointment.
  • India was expecting a multi-billion-dollar investment from Tesla for an electric vehicle factory.
  • Questions were raised about India’s reliance on Tesla and the need for government policies to attract diverse investors.
  • Speculation surrounds the reasons for Musk’s cancellation, including potential geopolitical influences and business challenges.
  • Analysts believe Tesla will still pursue its India strategy despite Musk’s absence.
  • India is seen as a win-win investment opportunity for Tesla, with huge potential for growth.
  • India’s electric vehicle market is expected to become more competitive with Tesla’s entry.
  • Tesla’s success in China highlights the company’s strategic partnerships and market expansion efforts.
  • The Indian government is promoting electric vehicles through incentive schemes to address various challenges.
  • Tesla is looking to expand into the luxury car segment in India but may face challenges without stable regulatory policies.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s recent trip to China sparked heated debate in India after he canceled plans to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the last minute. Musk’s scheduled meeting with Modi and other senior Indian officials had been widely anticipated and publicized. Tesla was expected to announce an investment of US$2-3 billion to build an electric vehicle factory in India and provide the latest information about Starlink. However, Musk postponed his trip to India, citing “Tesla’s very heavy workload.”

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Why did Musk cancel his trip to India?

Well-known economic commentator Prosenjit Datta commented that Musk canceled his trip to India and rushed to China instead, which displeased the Indian government. “India’s electric vehicle plans should not rely solely on Tesla. The government’s policies should attract all potential electric vehicle investors,” he said.

Musk has been negotiating to lower import taxes on certain electric vehicles. After long hesitation, the Indian government announced last month before the election that it would reduce import taxes on certain electric vehicles if companies committed to building at least $500 million in manufacturing facilities in India within three years.

“We have room to speculate, but geopolitics may have influenced this,” said Suraj Ghosh, vice president of strategy and business development at Minus Zero, India’s first startup to make affordable, fully autonomous cars. decision, but also faced business challenges such as poor quarterly performance.”

An economic commentator in New Delhi who spoke on condition of anonymity told the media: “Elon Musk does not want to get involved in the ongoing (Indian) election, and his visit and any announcement after meeting Prime Minister Modi The statement will trigger a political confrontation between the ruling People’s Party and the opposition parties.”

Some other analysts believe that Musk’s cancellation of the planned visit to India is not a major setback for India. They believe Tesla will pursue its India strategy despite Musk’s absence. Puneet Gupta, director of mobility at S&P Global, noted: “India has already made plans to welcome Tesla and wants to give them a red carpet welcome, and we think that Investing in India is a win-win for India and Tesla. Also, we have an election going on, so Tesla would be better off waiting for the results before delving into its investment plans in India.”

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Elon Musk
Elon Musk, CEO, Tesla

Who does Tesla prefer between China and India?

Suraj Ghosh pointed out that although India’s emerging markets have huge potential, China remains the key to business strategy. “Yes, India is emerging and will be a very critical market in the future, but currently China occupies that position and it is logical for any business to include it in its strategy,” he said.

Sam Bresnick, a fellow at Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technologies (CSET), agreed, adding: “Musk wants to keep the Chinese government happy because of the importance of the Chinese market. Tesla needs China more than Tesla, which means China benefits a lot.”

Musk’s decision to postpone a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sparked debate over New Delhi’s ability to attract investors, but analysts believe Tesla is still expected to proceed with building production in the country given its importance as a sales market base plan. India will surpass Japan in 2022 and become the world’s third-largest automobile market.

Tesla has been exploring locations to build factories in India, and several states have expressed interest in luring Tesla to build factories there. While India’s high import tax regime has previously been an obstacle, analysts believe Tesla’s entry into the market is still within reach.

Puneet Gupta emphasized that as Tesla plans to accelerate, India will become an important production and sales center, saying: “Tesla can provide Indian customers with balanced electric vehicle solutions.”

Analysts say India’s electric vehicle market will become more competitive with Tesla’s entry, with local automakers such as Tata Motors likely to be motivated by falling battery prices and productivity-related incentives offered by Delhi. Discount.

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Bresnick, a researcher at Georgetown University, said: “Musk’s trip to China appears to be a success because Tesla has a deal with Baidu to use the Chinese company’s mapping and navigation features and several of its models The car passed the data security standard testing of local industry organizations.”

“For Beijing, Tesla’s partnership with Baidu and aggressive data security testing demonstrate China’s interest in demonstrating its openness to foreign companies despite growing concerns about the local business and regulatory environment,” Bresnick said. China The government wants to show the international community that despite increased focus on data security, it is still possible for foreign companies to compete with local companies.”

India still has challenges to overcome

The share of electric vehicles in India is only 2%, and there is still a long way to go. In addition, India faces three major challenges: energy security, climate change, and traffic congestion. The government is working to promote the ecosystem and encourage the private sector through incentive schemes.

Tesla is expected to announce plans to build a factory in India once it accepts tax incentives under the new electric vehicle policy.

Ghosh said that with the manufacturing base in place, Tesla can expand into the luxury car segment in the country. The automaker should be able to find a “sweet spot” as its cars are likely to be priced between 3.5 million and 4 million Indian rupees (approximately $42,000 to $48,000).

However, analysts warn that without stable long-term regulatory policies, Tesla may struggle to leverage its expertise in electric vehicle expansion to compete effectively in India’s unique market.

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