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Musk’s plans for Tesla in India are on hold – Bloomberg

The CEO had already scrapped a plan to visit New Delhi and meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Elon Musk’s Tesla has put on hold its expansion plans in India, the world’s most populous nation, according to a Bloomberg report. Tesla executives reportedly haven’t made any further inquiries with New Delhi after Musk canceled a planned visit there, during which he was supposed to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and announce major investments.

Bloomberg’s sources indicated that the Indian government understands Tesla is facing capital issues and doesn’t plan to pledge new investments in the country.

The development comes against the backdrop of Tesla reporting a second consecutive quarterly decline in vehicle deliveries. The company delivered 443,956 vehicles globally in the three months to June, down 4.7% from a year earlier.

Modi met Musk on the sidelines of the Indian PM’s US visit last year and encouraged him to invest in the Indian market. Musk promised that Tesla would enter India “as soon as humanly possible,” despite having previously complained about high tariff rates in the country.

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Earlier this year, New Delhi approved a new policy to attract foreign EV makers, allowing import duty concessions for companies that set up a manufacturing unit with a minimum investment of $500 million. Previously, imported cars valued at over $40,000 incurred a 100% customs tax, while those under $40,000 faced a 70% import duty.

Following this policy change, reports emerged that a team from Tesla was scouting locations in India to set up a plant, preferably close to a port. Musk then said that he would be visiting India in April. At the time, Indian media reported that announcements were also expected concerning the entry into the market of two other Musk companies, Starlink and SpaceX.

However, the entrepreneur later postponed his visit due to “very heavy Tesla obligations” and instead visited Beijing. While China is Tesla’s biggest market after the US, accounting for 33% of the company’s car sales in 2023, it faces stiff competition there, given the size of the domestic EV industry.

In India, the EV sector is dominated by Tata Motors, which has released electric variants of many of its popular models. However, the EV market in the country is still nascent, with electric cars accounting for only 2% of total car sales in 2023.

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