by Aditi Shah
NEW DELHI, May 13 (Reuters) – Tesla has put plans to sell electric vehicles in India on hold, abandoned the search for premises and reassigned some of its staff there after failing to secure lower tariffs , Three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The move ends more than a year of dead-end discussions with Indian government officials, with Tesla first seeking to test demand by selling electric vehicles imported from its production centers in the United States and China, to lower rates.
But the Indian government is pushing Tesla to commit to manufacturing locally before lowering customs duties, which can reach 100% on imported vehicles.
Tesla has put plans to import cars to India on hold after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government failed to offer concessions when presenting its budget and fiscal policy on February 1, the sources added. who requested anonymity as the deliberations took place in private.
Tesla and an Indian government spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
For months, Tesla has been looking for premises to open showrooms and service centers in the cities of New Delhi, Bombay and Bangalore, but that project is also on hold, two of the sources said.
Tesla has also assigned additional responsibilities in other markets to some members of its local team. Its head of policy and development in India, Manuj Khurana, has had “product” responsibility in San Francisco since March, as shown in his LinkedIn profile.
Narendra Modi has sought to lure manufacturers as part of his ‘Make in India’ campaign, but his Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said in April it would not be a ‘good proposition’ for Tesla to import cars from China to India. (With contributions by Aditya Kalra; French version Elena Vardon, editing by Kate Entringer)