Take the following with a “pinch of salt”
It appears that all those rumors of “Tesla entering the Indian market in 2021” were “true” after all, as the California-based EV maker has registered (?!) its India subsidiary in Bengaluru, Karnataka, with office address at a well-known commercial building in the city (appears to have rented a co-working space for now). Weird, I know, but read on.
The company has named three directors as well — Vaibhav Taneja, who currently serves as CAO at Tesla, David Feinstein, a global senior director at Tesla, and Venkatrangam Sreeram, who appears to be a Chennai-based entrepreneur.
At the time of publishing this story, there was no official update from neither Tesla nor Elon Musk himself. An email sent to Tesla remains unanswered and so are the tweets at Tesla and Elon. According to the reports, the city will get the R&D, while the information regarding a manufacturing facility is not reliable at the moment.
Well, obviously, the newly established company raises some questions. The first one is the name of the company itself as Tesla normally don’t register a subsidiary with such a long name. But maybe it’s because there are many other companies in the country using the ‘Tesla’ name. The second one is setting up a subsidiary with INR 15 lakh authorized capital and only INR 1 lakh paid-up capital seems very odd considering how big Tesla is. Also, the contact email is a Gmail! Another weird thing is the obvious one; the registered office address is a co-working space in the city. As for the directors, while the first two seem legitimate, no one seems to understand how this person named Venkatrangam Sreeram was signed up as one of the directors for the India division. Is he one of the major Tesla shareholders in the country or something? I don’t know. Last but not the least, the Karnataka CM tweeted a welcome message to Elon Musk and later deleted it. In the tweet, he claimed that Tesla “will soon start its operations in India with an R&D unit in Bengaluru”.
You could argue that the Gmail and the co-working space are all temporary set-ups until Tesla figures out how to do business in India. A report from The Print claims that Tesla asked the CM to not make any announcements until things are finalized. Anyway, whatever it is, looks like there’s no option other than to wait and see.
[Jan 14, 2021 update: Elon Musk’s cryptic two-word response on Tesla in India]