Tesla’s India fans are worried about Elon Musk’s waning interest in their country

Keeping mum.
Keeping mum.
Image: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
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Elon Musk yesterday (May 9) tweeted about his 2007 Taj Mahal visit but that didn’t enthuse Tesla’s Indian fans much. They had other things to worry about.

That includes the unending wait for the launch of the company’s car in India, the reported relocation of key personnel to other geographies, and an apparent tapering of the world’s richest man’s interest in their country.

Soon after Musk’s tweet, Tesla fans like Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma sought updates on his India plans.

Some invited Musk to visit the country again.

Last year, speculation was rife that Musk may visit India to meet prime minister Narendra Modi amid Tesla’s demands to lower duties on imported electrical vehicles.

Will Tesla come to India?

The uncertainty over Tesla’s India entry, along with the relocation of its key official Manuj Khurana to California, has fueled concerns.

Khurana was Tesla India’s first recruit and was responsible for public policy and business development. His LinkedIn profile shows that the Indian Insitute of Management Banglore alumnus relocated to the US in April to take up a product role.

There have also been reports of Tesla relocating other key officials from India to focus on regions like West Asia.

Tesla did not respond to Quartz’s queries on the matter.

Talks between Tesla and the Indian government have reached a deadlock over taxes. The government wants it to make cars in the country, but Tesla first wants to ensure a viable market before it flags off larger plans.

Intriguingly, India’s vaccine czar Adar Poonawalla advised Musk on Twitter a few days ago to manufacture in India.