Tesla is planning on setting up mega showrooms in 3 metros in India. CEO Elon Musk had tweeted in the past about his ambitions to enter India this year.
Tesla Hires India Representative
To that end, Tesla has hired Manuj Khurrana of Invest India to take care of Tesla’s entry process in the Indian market.
He will also be fulfilling lobbying duties with the Indian government.
Khurrana formerly served as an executive of Invest India which is the country’s investment promotion body.
He has also appeared on a government panel led by PM Modi discussing the future of transportation.
Where Will Tesla Set Up Shop?
Tesla has also appointed CBRE Group Inc, a global property consultant, to scout locations where mammoth showrooms and service centres in the range of 20-30,000 sq foot space could be constructed.
The consultant has been exploring locations for several weeks now and has been targeting those that can provide the easiest and quickest access to India’s rich and wealthy.
Luxury car showrooms in high-end areas of wealthy metros are typically 8-10,000 sq ft big and this is in the upward range.
Most showrooms are far smaller due to constraints in real estate availability and exorbitant real estate rates for eg. in New Delhi and Mumbai, among the highest in the world.
So far, reportedly New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru have been selected where the electric vehicle (EV) giant will be targeting the affluent niche.
Gaining A Foothold In India
Tesla is targeting the middle of this year to import and sell the Model 3 sedan.
A local company was registered in January to bring this into fruition.
Tesla India Motors and Energy Private Limited has also been registered in Bengaluru where it will develop a research and development (R&D) centre.
Tesla will naturally be bringing in some modifications when it sets up shop in India, all the while following the model it does in its experience centre-like showrooms worldwide, as per an insider.
Challenges In India
Tesla faces resistance since the Indian auto market hasn’t yet warmed up to mass EV adoption.
This is evidenced by dismal sales figures in which only 5000 EVs were sold out of the total 2.4 million cars sold in India last year.
This is in stark contrast to China where EVs accounted for 1.25 million units sold.
Another hurdle comes in the form of inadequate infrastructure for charging of the EVs.
High taxes on imported cars is also another cause for concern.
Despite these obstacles, the Indian market is not one Tesla can ignore given the frequency of and a rising number of high net-worth individuals looking to splurge on the best the world has to offer.
The government is also constantly making attempts to shift the country’s energy dependence from fossil fuels to clean energy. Earlier this month it was reported that over 6,000 route kilometres of Indian Railway tracks were electrified.
Triton, another American luxury EV maker, has registered its Indian subsidiary in the capital which will expand its presence and make India one of its largest markets.
It also has a local manufacturing facility which, apart from producing for the domestic market, will also be manufacturing for exports to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the Middle East region and Africa. .