According to a number of people familiar with the matter, electric car maker Tesla is seeking to open showrooms in three cities in India and hire senior executives to lobby and expand business before entering India.
At the beginning of this year, Tesla registered a local company in India, and it is expected that it will import and sell Model 3 electric cars in India as early as mid-2021 to target affluent customers in this niche market.
Tesla is seeking to open showrooms and service centers in the Indian capital New Delhi, the western financial center of Mumbai, and the southern technology city of Bangalore, each covering an area of 20,000 to 30,000 square feet. Tesla has not responded to a request for comment.
Additionally, Tesla is reported to have hired Manuj Khurana, a former executive of Investment India, an investment promotion agency in India. He is Tesla’s first major leader in its policy and business development efforts in India.
In October last year, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the company will enter India in 2021. He had previously shared similar tweets. Moreover, the search for showrooms and the recruitment of Kurana indicate that Tesla is speeding up its actions.
Tesla also hired the global real estate consulting firm CBRE Group to help investigate suitable locations for opening showrooms, which need to make it easier for the company to reach wealthy customers. Luxury car showrooms in metropolitan areas usually range from 8,000 to 10,000 square feet
But in India, most exhibition halls are much smaller, where high-end real estate space is usually in short supply, and real estate prices in New Delhi and Mumbai are among the best in the world. The company will consider making certain modifications to them in order to replicate this practice in the Indian market.
Richard Wilhelm stated that it would not comment on “the work we may be doing on behalf of our clients. Kurana had previously participated in a government group on the future of transportation, which was led by a scientific adviser to the Prime Minister of India.
Two people familiar with the matter said that after assuming the new role, he will also be responsible for solving Tesla’s related process issues in entering the Indian market. But for Tesla, India is not an easy market to enter.
The charging infrastructure there is negligible, the tax on imported cars is high, and the use of electric cars is very low. Of the 2.4 million vehicles sold in India last year, only 5,000 were pure electric vehicles. In China, sales of new energy vehicles reached 1.25 million.
However, analysts say that as the Indian government increases its support for the promotion of clean cars, coupled with the increasing number of wealthy consumers in India, it will make it a market that automakers cannot ignore.
Although Tesla initially planned to import cars to India, Indian officials said last month that the government is prepared to provide incentives to ensure that if Tesla promises to manufacture locally, its production costs will be lower than in China.