A recent report has suggested that Tesla has agreed, in principle, to the Indian government’s proposal not just to assemble vehicles in the country, but also establish a vendor base in India.
India has so far proven to be an elusive market for Tesla. Back in 2021, several signs pointed to the idea of Tesla establishing a presence in India. The company received homologation certificates for seven vehicle variants by the end of the year. A Model Y was also spotted testing on Indian roads.
Yet by 2022, Tesla shelved its plans to enter the country. Part of this is reportedly due to the electric vehicle maker’s request for tax breaks for imported electric vehicles, which faced stern rejections from Indian officials. By May 2022, reports suggested that Tesla had abandoned its search for a showroom in India. Members of its domestic team were reportedly reassigned as well.
As noted in a Financial Express report, the Indian government recently stated that Tesla could initially start with the domestic assembly of its electric vehicles. Following this, Tesla could set up a vendor base in India, not unlike how the company set up its domestic vendor network in China for Gigafactory Shanghai.
The publication has previously noted that the Indian government had asked Tesla to submit a roadmap for the setup of its domestic supply chain. Expectations are reportedly high that Tesla will submit this plan within the next three to six months.
Indian officials have reportedly offered Tesla import concessions on necessary components for its vehicles until the company sets up its own supply chain in India. This is similar to the government’s incentive scheme for smartphones, which offers duty protection to companies that locally source components. Tesla will need to meet specific timelines for local sourcing in order to qualify for these concessions, however.
“The government is willing to give time for setting up a domestic vendor base, but Tesla will have to indicate a period by which the duty concessions on components granted to it will come to an end,” officials reportedly said.
Tesla typically taps into the local supply chain when it manufactures vehicles. With this in mind, if the company does establish a production plant in India, some of its vendors may have to establish their own facilities in the country. These vendors would likely need to form joint ventures with Indian firms, especially since the country discourages investments that are 100% owned by Chinese enterprises, the FE noted.