Elon Musk has expressed a desire to sell Tesla Inc. cars as early as 2019. Three years later, the electric-vehicle pioneer in the United States isn’t any closer.
“Still working through a lot of challenges with the government,” Musk said in a tweet early Thursday in Asia, responding to a user who inquired whether there was an update on Tesla’s launch in the Southeast Asian nation.
Still working through a lot of challenges with the government
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 12, 2022
Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration have been in talks for years, but disagreements over a local factory and the country’s import duties of up to 100% have resulted in an impasse. The government has asked Tesla to increase local procurement and provide precise manufacturing plans; Musk has sought lower taxes so that Tesla can begin by selling imported vehicles at a lower price in a budget-conscious market.
In October, an Indian minister stated that he had asked Tesla to avoid selling Chinese-made cars in India, instead urging the automaker to produce, sell, and export vehicles from a local factory. With a population equivalent to China, India is a potentially attractive market for EV makers, but the country’s roadways are still dominated by low-cost, no-frills cars produced by Suzuki Motor Corp. and Hyundai Motor Co.
Other foreign players will compete with Tesla, including Mercedes-Benz, which announced Wednesday that it will launch a locally built EQS – the electric version of its flagship S-Class sedan – in India by the fourth quarter.