Even as the Indian customers’ wait for electric car manufacturer Tesla’s compact sedan Model 3 continues, its founder Elon Musk offered some hope for them through a tweet saying the company is pushing for import tax waivers to launch the vehicle in the country.
Import duty of cars in India is as high as 125%. Model 3 has a base price of $35,000 (Rs 22.5 lakh) in the US.
Tesla has generated considerable enthusiasm among India’s car lovers, especially for its green credentials. Musk has repeatedly responded to queries of Indian customers through tweets while he is in talks with the Indian government to start a manufacturing facility in the country. The firm is looking for a temporary relief on tax and other barriers to importing cars in India and is expecting to start selling the car in the county before the proposed factory is up and running, Musk assured a Twitter user.
In discussions with the government of India requesting temporary relief on import penalties/restrictions until a local factory is built
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 14, 2017
When Tesla launched Model 3 last year, it had opened the online sales page for bookings from India as well.
A number of local customers, including Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma and GOQii founder Vishal Gondal, had booked the car. However, the delivery has not been made yet. About 300,000 bookings were made within a few days after the car was launched last year. Tesla made a record sale of 25,000 units in the first quarter of the year.
Tesla had started talking with the India government to set up the factory to produce electric battery and vehicles in the country around two years ago. Musk had then met Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well. However, the talks have made little headway as there have been differences over local sourcing norms. Meanwhile, Tesla is in talks with China too for setting up a manufacturing facility in the country.
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