Would Indians Love or Shove the Tesla ?

by WAF Auto Think Tank

Elon Musk coming to India next week is Big News! It’s speculated that Tesla just might invest a couple Billion Dollars in the third largest automotive market in the world!

After the EV Policy change, Tesla could have invested just half a Billion dollars to qualify for the newly constituted 15% Duty bracket down from the 100% one. But it seems, it chooses to invest much higher.

The richest man in the world coming to meet one of the most powerful leaders in the world around the time when the largest democracy in the world gets busy with it’s General Elections. Coincidence ? Fan Boy Moment ? Way to get more govt goodies post elections ? A competent strategy to ensure formidable global rivals like BYD stay in the rear view mirror  ? Despite entering India much earlier!

Well time shall surely tell!

Time for Hard hitting facts now! The Electric car market is still fledgling in India despite record passenger sales last FY. Electric Cars barely constitute 2% of total car sales. The Govt think tanks though are very optimistic that they would comprise a third of total car sales in the next 6 years!

However the main question which needs to be answered is – Would the “Hard to Please” Indian Customers accept Tesla, amidst the currently fledgling e car market comprising deeply penetrated players like Tata Motors, MG Motor India, M&M and Hyundai Motor India, to name a few!

Anuj Guglani, CEO, World Auto Forum commented,’ Electric Cars sell in India more due to the “Green Vogue”. The Cost of Running is surely addictive! Tesla with it’s latest and aesthetic designs, high tech ADAS and performance features, shockingly long range and the oomph factor induced peer pressure can surely ring in the sales.  Something like an iphone on 4 Wheels!

Mr Guglani further added,‘Higher the price, higher the aspiration and the exclusivity of the brand. In the initial years, Tesla might not be looking at a volume game but a game of establishing itself as a premium and a desirable, locally available brand. The rub off from the Maverick Image of Elon Musk would surely help! The decades of 70s & 80s belonged to the Angry Young Man and the current day and age are ruled by the Sharks and Maverick Entrepreneurs. Overall the Tesla brand and products should be accepted by Indians, if they just follow basic branding and hygiene factors of business and pricing. Not messing with any religious or social values, Indians swear and live by! The Message of “We are here for Good” always goes a long way especially when volumes during the initial years, are low and speculations can be high!’

The other thing is a strong business case. Initially it’s said that Tesla Germany plant just might feed the Indian Unit. However it would go a long way if the company plans, invests and builds a gigafactory at India for India and the World!

Getting a strong local player like the Ambanis or Adanis via the friendly & supportive PMO just might be a cherry on the cake for Musk! And hey nothing wrong in that as long as India Grows, employment grows, Business Grows!