Tesla Targets India, Aims To Start Selling There This Summer

Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk says he would like to start selling cars there this summer. He made the comment on Twitter when a user said he was “eagerly” waiting for the EV maker to arrive in his market.

First China, then India

Beyond the tweeted response to the question, Musk has said nothing more. Obviously they have no concrete timeline for launching in India, but it makes sense that they would like to do so. After China, India is quickly becoming the next frontier for tech companies. Apple is also targeting the country, although it is in the process of setting up manufacturing operations to make iPhones specifically for the Indian market.

The iPhone maker is trying to bring down the cost of its iPhones for price-conscious Indian consumers, and a key part of this is negotiating government incentives to bring jobs there under the prime minister’s “Make in India” initiative. Given that Tesla wants to start doing business in India this summer, it seems unlikely that it will have manufacturing operations up and running by then, so it will probably have to shell out large piles of cash in import taxes.

Tesla will face problems in India

India is estimated to have about 1.3 billion consumers there, so it’s no wonder that every U.S. tech firm is trying to gain a foothold there. But Tesla will face many issues because selling cars is a much more complicated process than selling smartphones. The prices of the automaker’s vehicles could keep many Indian consumers away because they simply won’t be able to afford them, although the country’s growing middle class might present a ray of hope at some point in the future. For now though, this will be a sizable problem for Tesla.

CNN Money also notes that the EV maker will face even more issues than that, however. The roads in India are notoriously crowded, and the country’s electric grid is not very reliable. In order for electric vehicles to be a workable option for drivers there, they must be able to charge them easily.

The company is determined to try though and has already made the Model 3 available for preorder in India. Indeed, if any of its vehicles are going to make it there, it will have to be the less expensive Model 3. The company is also planning to install Superchargers throughout the country, Musk tweeted in March 2016.

Shares of Tesla rose by as much as 1.52% to $261.40 during regular trading hours on Wednesday.