Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s plans to enter the Indian market to sell his popular electric vehicles were met with fresh hurdles on Saturday after a Union minister said the American carmaker and his cars are welcome in India only if he complies with the policies of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ or self-reliant India.
Addressing The Global Summit by a television channel on Saturday, Union minister for heavy industries and public enterprises Mahendra Nath Pandey said, “The government under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi has moved ahead swiftly on the Aatmanirbhar Bharat policy and received a very good response on it and we are not going to compromise on that in any way… Tesla, Elon Musk are welcome to India, but only according to the country’s policies.”
The buzz about Tesla entering the Indian auto market started in August last year when Musk, in response to a user’s tweet, said Tesla may set up a manufacturing unit in India if it first succeeds with imported vehicles in the country.
However, last month, Musk responded to another user, saying, “Tesla will not put a manufacturing plant in any location where we are not allowed first to sell & service cars.”
Tesla has been seeking reduction in import duties to sell its vehicles in India but the company’s founder has been adamant that he will not manufacture its products locally unless it is allowed to first sell and service its cars in the country.
Recently, a key executive at the forefront of Tesla’s lobbying effort in India resigned after the US carmaker decided to put on hold plans to sell electric cars in the country, Reuters reported.
Manuj Khurana was reportedly hired as the policy and business development executive at Tesla in India in March 2021 when the company was trying to push its domestic market-entry plan in the country.
Currently, India imposes 100 per cent import duty on fully imported cars with CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight) value more than $40,000 and 60 per cent on those costing less than the amount.
(With agency inputs)