Tesla India team is reportedly working for APAC markets, as the company India operations remain on hold due to high import taxes
US-Based EV manufacturer Tesla’s Indian wing has reportedly begun work for the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. The automaker’s India operations are yet to commence though, mainly due to the high import duties levied by the Indian government on imported cars. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been lobbying for lower taxes on imported EVs for quite some time.
In India, imported CBU (Completely Built Up) cars attract a 60 per cent import duty if they are priced at or lower than USD 40,000. For cars priced higher than that, a 100 per cent duty is levied. These duties are the same for fossil-fuel-powered vehicles and zero-emission EVs, and Tesla had talks with the government for reducing taxes on electric vehicles.
However, the government of India has been pushing Tesla to set up local manufacturing/assembly plants instead, in order to enjoy lower taxes. As per previous reports, the electric carmaker was initially planning to test the market with fully imported cars, and depending on the market response, it would scale up its operations later, even adding local manufacturing and/or assembly facilities.
As of now, it is unclear whether Tesla would take the CBU import route for the Indian market, which would attract higher taxes, or the CKD (Completely Knocked Down) route, which would require a local assembly plant. The latter would require a massive investment on the manufacturer’s part, but it still wouldn’t guarantee a volume success.
As per a recent ET Auto report, most of Tesla India’s team members are working mainly for the Middle-East markets and have travelled to Dubai. Nishant Prasad, who was responsible for setting up Tesla’s supercharger network across India, has changed his designation to Charging Operations Lead-APAC on LinkedIn.
Manuj Khurana, who was the first person hired by Tesla in India, had joined the policy and business development department for the brand’s local wing here, but he has now moved to the product department in California, US. The facts do not inspire confidence in Tesla’s plans for India.
Tesla’s entry into the Indian market has been on hold since 2019 due to the massive import duties on cars in our country. The Indian government, however, has been promoting electric mobility in India, but mainly via local production.