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Elon Musk’s Tesla ends up dead in India as CEO leaves

Elon Musk's Tesla ends up dead in India as CEO leaves
A key figure who led Tesla’s lobby in India has resigned weeks after the US automaker suspended plans to sell electric cars in the South Asian country, two sources aware of the matter told Reuters.
Manuj Khurana, policy and business development manager at Tesla in India, was hired in March 2021 and played a key role in devising a domestic market access plan for the US automaker in the country.

He lobbied the Indian government for over a year to cut import taxes on electric cars to 40% from as much as 100%, a move Tesla said it could test the market with imports from its manufacturing hubs such as China before investing in a factory.

But Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government insisted that Tesla must first commit to producing cars locally before it can make concessions. With talks stalled, Tesla put its plans to sell cars in India on hold, reassigned some of the domestic team and stopped looking for showroom space.

Neither Khurana, the company’s first employee in India, nor Tesla responded to requests for comment. An email sent to Khurana produced an automatic reply stating that the address was no longer valid and future emails would not be received.

“Tesla’s plans to launch in India now are pretty much dead,” said one of the sources.

The sources wished to remain anonymous as the resignation had not yet been made public.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter last month that the company would not set up production in a location where it was not allowed to sell and service cars first.

The automaker has also shifted its focus to other markets in Southeast Asia, such as nickel-rich Indonesia, where it is looking at a potential battery-related investment, as well as Thailand, where it recently registered a local unit to sell cars.

– Wire story by Reuters