Tesla begins recruiting for leadership, senior level roles in India

Topics Tesla | Tesla in India

Tesla’s foray into India may well prove challenging, however, even with sweeteners.
Tesla Inc. has begun recruiting for leadership and senior level roles in India, according to a person familiar with the matter, as it gears up to break into one the world’s biggest emerging car markets.

The California-based maker of electric vehicles is recruiting for positions including a head of sales and marketing, and a head of human resources, the person said, asking not to be identified. A Tesla fan club tweeted last week the company had brought on board a senior legal counsel.

Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk all but confirmed Tesla would enter India in January after months of speculation. The world’s second-richest man on Jan. 13 tweeted “as promised” in response to a report on a Tesla-focused blog that the automaker was in talks with several Indian states to open an office, showrooms, a research and development center -- and possibly a factory.

Local media reported last month that Prashanth Menon, who has been with Tesla for around four years, was elevated to country CEO.

Tesla didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read More: Tesla marks India entry with new office in Bengaluru, names three directors

The EV maker is closely monitoring announcements from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government regarding changes to the country’s goods-and-sales tax that may reduce the cost of owning an electric car, the person familiar with the matter said. It’s also waiting for further incentives for EV makers under India’s production-linked incentive program before it makes a real push into the country.

Under the PLI, as it’s called, manufacturing incentives will rise each year in an ongoing effort to entice the world’s biggest brands to make their products in India and export to the world. Last month, India’s cabinet also approved a 181 billion rupee ($2.5 billion) plan to boost battery storage capacity to 50 gigawatt hours.

Tesla’s foray into India may well prove challenging, however, even with sweeteners. Unlike China, India hasn’t rolled out the welcome mat for electric cars. Tesla set up its first factory outside of the U.S. in Shanghai and now dominates sales of premium EVs in China. EVs account for about 6% of China’s annual car sales, according to BloombergNEF, compared to less than 1% in India.

Read More: Tesla might face a bumpier ride breaking into India after China success

The expensive cost of Tesla cars is viewed as a sticking point too. Although India is home to a budding middle class, pricey automobiles remain well out of reach of the vast majority of the population. The lack of charging infrastructure is another impediment to large-scale EV adoption.

Tesla has picked Karnataka, a southern state whose capital is Bangalore, for its first plant, the state’s chief minister said in February. Tesla hasn’t commented. The automaker has been negotiating with local officials for six months and is actively considering car assembly in the suburbs of Bangalore, other people familiar with the matter said at the time.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel