Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company will not manufacture cars in India if the country does not allow it to sell and service its electric vehicles.
When asked by a Twitter user Friday if Tesla would be manufacturing a plant in India in the future, Musk said the move cannot happen under the country’s current rules.
“Tesla will not put a manufacturing plant in any location where we are not allowed first to sell & service cars,” Musk tweeted.
The team Musk hired in India last year has since been instructed to focus on the Middle East and the larger Asia-Pacific markets.
Musk’s comments come as the Indian government has yet to accept his demand to reduce import duties on Tesla cars.
Indian leaders have made multiple failed appeals for Musk to bring Tesla to India.
“Our request to him is to come to India and manufacture here. We have no problems. The vendors are available, we offer all kinds of technology and because of that, Musk can reduce the cost,” Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said during the Raisina Dialogue 2022 conference last month, according to TribuneIndia.com.
“India is a huge market and offers good export opportunities too. Musk can export Tesla cars from India,” he added.
Gadkari said in February that Musk must first manufacture in India before Tesla cars can be driven on the roads.
Musk had tweeted in January that he could not release Tesla vehicles in India yet due to “challenges with the government.” And last summer, the billionaire posted to Twitter that he would like to launch Teslas in India, but the country’s import duties are “the highest in the world by far of any large country.”
India currently levies a 100% tax on imported vehicles costing more than $40,000, inclusive of insurance and shipping expenses. Cars that cost less than $40,000 face a 60% import tax.
Musk also said on Twitter Friday that SpaceX is waiting on approval from the Indian government to provide the company’s Starlink satellite internet to the south Asian country.