Tesla edges closer to launching sales in India by registering a company in the country

Tesla edges closer to launching sales in India by registering a company in the country
Elon Musk speaking at the Satellite Conference and Exhibition in Washington, Monday, March 9, 2020.AP Photo/Susan Walsh
  • Tesla has registered a company in India as it prepares to launch operations there in "early 2021," according to the country's transport minister.
  • India is pushing for a boost in electric vehicle sales as it focuses on cutting emissions.
  • It has the world's fifth biggest car market – but Toyota and Ford have been scaling back operations in the country.

Tesla is coming closer to launching sales in India later this year.

The electric vehicle giant has now registered a company in the country, Reuters reported, citing documents filed on Tuesday.

India is home to the world's second largest population and fifth biggest car market.

The company, called Tesla Motors India and Energy Private Limited, was incorporated on January 8, Reuters reported. Its office is registered in Bangalore, a city in the south that has become the country's technology hub, and it has three listed directors.

The company's registration came less than two weeks after Nitin Gadkari, India's transport minister, told The Indian Express that Tesla would launch operations in India in "early 2021." The company would start with sales then potentially moving on to assembly and manufacturing, he said.


CEO Elon Musk has been teasing Tesla's entry into the Indian market for years.

"Next year for sure," he said in October in response to a tweet asking when Tesla would sell its electric cars in India.

"Thanks for waiting!" Musk added.

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The Indian government is pushing for a boost in electric vehicle sales as it increasingly focuses on cutting emissions and other sustainability measures.


In September 2017, the government said all of the roughly 250 million vehicles on the road must be electric by 2030. But after fierce criticism, the government lowered this target to just 30% in February 2018.

And Delhi, the national capital, will have as many as 2,000 electric public transport buses by the end of 2021, the city's transport minister Kailash Gahlot announced in August 2020. The ministry for power is also looking into setting up electric vehicle charging points at all gas stations in Delhi, he added.

"I am confident that in five years Indian will become the number one hub for manufacturing electric buses, cars and two-wheelers," Nitin Gadkari, the county's minister of road transport and highways, said in June.

"It is interesting, and highly ambitious, to see that (Musk) is hoping to make inroads in a country which has a reputation for huge levels of air pollution, particularly in the big cities," Sam Bailey from intellectual property firm Mewburn Ellis told Insider.

"It is also evidence of his belief that Tesla is now getting closer to a price point that is attractive and affordable for people in all economies and no longer the preserve of the very rich early adopters of new technology."


India is the third-biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, after China and the US, according to the World Economic Forum, and accounts for around 7% of total global emissions.

"Tesla has rightly identified India as a market with great demand growth potential," David Leggett, automotive analyst at GlobalData, said. "There is a large and affluent middle class developing in its many urban centres."

"India has a population comparable in size to that of China - it is approaching 1.5 billion people - but its car market is only around 3 million, around a tenth of China's. Over the next five years, we expect India's car market to double in size, with electric vehicles increasing their share."

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Musk has been discussing Tesla's launch in India for years.


Back in February 2017, Musk said he hoped to launch sales in India that summer.

Four months later, he said he was in talks with India's government about Tesla.

Then in March 2019, he tweeted: "Would love to be there this year. If not, definitely next!" when asked when Tesla would launch sales there.

As Tesla plans its launch into the Indian markets, other vehicle manufacturers continue to pull out.

In September, Harley-Davidson announced it would stop manufacturing in India, despite its status as the world's largest motorcycle market, and Toyota said that same month it was halting a planned expansion due to India's high tax regime.


General Motors left India in 2017 after failing to expand its market share, and Ford said in October 2019 it was moving the majority of its assets into a joint venture with Indian vehicle firm Mahindra & Mahindra.

Earlier this month Tesla announced it had begun producing Model Y vehicles in China, the world's largest car market, which experts say could be crucial to Tesla's success. It also slashed the pre-order sales price for the vehicle by 30%.