Tesla CEO Elon Musk has hinted about the company’s entry in the Indian automotive landscape a number of times. While there might be certain hurdles in the process, finding the right partner will not be one of them anymore for the American Electric car maker. Why? Indian auto major Ashok Leyland has extended a helping hand.
Ashok leyland, a renowned name in the Indian automobile market, has invited Tesla for a partnership to help the company set foot in India. The invite comes in the form of a recent statement given by Venkatesh Natarajan, Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer of Ashok Leyland, during the recently-concluded AWS India Summit. "We are open to Musk's offer,” Natarajan said.
The partnership will, of course, involve other agencies as well, as has been hinted at by the senior executives of the firm. Tesla, however, is still to respond to the statement.
If and when such a partnership takes place, Ashok Leyland will have the right kind of backing for the world renowned Tesla vehicles. Ashok Leyland has already committed a total investment of Rs 400 cr to Rs 500 cr into its electric vehicle business over the next three to five years. The partnership, if it takes place, might constitute a majority of this investment.
Apart from the perspective of a partnership, Tesla has repeatedly voiced its interest to be in India, mostly through Elon Musk's twitter. Back in March, the tech billionaire had tweeted “would love to be in India this year, in not, then definitely by next!”
That is classic Musk for you though, known for voicing his interests way before he starts working on them. A bit more realistic approach was also mentioned by him though back in November 2018. Musk had tweeted at the time that Tesla has plans to establish “partial presence” in regions including India, Africa and South America by the end of 2019. This would be followed by further expansion in 2020.
Tesla is expected to begin selling its entry-level Model 3 electric car in India first, given the budget-conscious nature of the Indian market. This can also be judged from the fact that the car might be sold at a higher price point than the rest of the Tesla markets due to customs.
What can help Tesla though, are the incentives being offered by the Indian government to EV manufacturers under the FAME scheme. The company is even more to gain in the long run with a domestic production in the country. And interestingly, Musk is up for it, having promised a local gigafactory in the country earlier. The state-of-the-art facility known globally for its manufacturing efficiency can also serve as a point for the company to export its models to other markets in South Asia and other nearby regions.
Tesla has more in store than most of the major auto makers across the globe. The company recently completed its S3XY lineup with launch of the Tesla Model Y. A downsized version of the Model X, the Model Y can also be making its way to the Indian market, given its compact stature and pocket-friendly price tag in comparison with other models.