Tesla Inc. is scouting for locations to open showrooms in three Indian cities and has hired an executive to lead its lobbying and business efforts ahead of its planned entry into the country, sources in the discussion told Reuters . In January the electric-car manufacturer registered a local company in India, where it expects to import and sell Model 3 sedans by mid-2021, aiming to target wealthy customers in a niche market.
The world’s most valuable automaker by market capitalization is looking for commercial properties to open showrooms and service centers in each of the 20,000-30,000 square feet capital New Delhi, the financial center Mumbai in the west and the tech city of Bengaluru in the south There are three sources. said.
Two other sources said that separately, Tesla has appointed Manuj Khurana, a former executive of India’s investment promotion body Invest India, who spearheaded its policy and business development efforts in the country.
Tesla did not respond to a request for comment, while Khurana refused to comment.
In October, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter that the company would “definitely” enter India in 2021, although the billionaire had issued similar tweets in the past.
The search for showroom space and the appointment of Khurana signal Tesla is advancing rapidly.
Global property consultant CBRE Group Inc. – hired by Tesla for showroom searches – has been surveying locations for several weeks and focusing on locations that will give the company easy access to thriving customers, sources said. he said.
Some luxury car showrooms in upmarket areas of metro cities typically have between 8,000–10,000 square feet, but most showrooms are very small in India, where high-end real estate locations are typically low supply and property prices in New Delhi and Mumbai Are from Highest in the world.
“If you look at Tesla’s showrooms globally, they are like experience centers. This replica will be seen with some modifications for the Indian market to see,” said one of the sources, all of whom identified the identity Rejected because the talks are private.
CBRE said it did not comment on “the work being done on behalf of our customers”.
Khurana has previously been on a government panel on the future of transport led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s top scientific advisor. In his new role, he is also handling Tesla’s market-entry process in India, two sources said.
But it is unlikely for Tesla to become an easy market for India.
The charging infrastructure and high taxes on imported cars in the country are negligible as well as low adoption of electric vehicles (EVs).
India recorded just 5,000 EV sales out of a total of 2.4 million cars sold last year, while new energy vehicle sales in China stood at 1.25 million.
However, analysts say the increasing number of affluent consumers in India makes it a market that automakers cannot afford to ignore as the government focuses on promoting clean cars.
Although Tesla plans to import the cars for the first time, India’s road minister told Reuters last month that the government would give incentives to ensure carmakers’ production costs for local manufacturing would be lower than in China. is ready.