“We are still working on a lot of issues with the government,” Musk said in an Asian Twitter post early Thursday, in response to a user who asked if there was an update on Tesla car launches in the South Asian country.
Tesla CEO Musk and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government have been in talks for several years, but disagreements over a local factory and up to 100% import duties in the country have led to a dead end. The government has asked the electric car maker to increase local purchases and share detailed production plans; Musk has demanded lower taxes so Tesla can start selling imported vehicles at a lower price in a market where budget matters.
In October, an Indian minister said he asked Tesla not to sell Chinese-made cars in the country and urged the automaker to make, sell and export vehicles from a local factory. India, which has a population comparable to China’s, is an attractive market for electric-car makers, but cheap, no-frills cars made by local units of Suzuki Motor Corp. and Hyundai Motor Co. still dominate this country’s roads. country.
Tesla will also face competition from other foreign players, including Mercedes-Benz, which said on Wednesday it would launch a locally assembled EQS model in India, an electric version of its flagship S-Class sedan, for the fourth quarter.
Although India has pledged to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2070 and the government is trying to boost sales of electric cars, its green transition is still in its infancy.
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