May 30, 2024

After years of waiting — and lobbying — to set up shop in India, it looks like Tesla is content to wait a little bit longer.

On Sunday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk was expected to travel to India to meet with prime minister Narendra Modi for the first time since June 2023, where he would announce a $2 billion investment in the country. Representatives for the Austin, Texas-based automaker have been scouting locations for a new factory this month.

But those plans have been postponed.

“Unfortunately, very heavy Tesla obligations require that the visit to India be delayed, but I do very much look forward to visiting later this year,” Musk wrote on X over the weekend. After years of splitting his attention across his portfolio of companies — including SpaceX and Neuralink — Musk has found himself busier than ever at Tesla.

Drew Baglino, Tesla’s senior vice president for energy engineering and powertrain, resigned last week as the company laid off at least 14,000 workers, or 10% of its global headcount. Musk now oversees people previously led by Baglino, including the leaders of charging infrastructure and the 4680 battery project, The Information reported. He’s also now in charge of sales across North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Ahead of the company’s much-watched quarterly earnings report this week, India is moving down the list of Musk’s priorities.

Tesla’s Indian debut

Tesla has reportedly met with at least two Indian companies to discuss partnerships to help smooth its expected entry into the market.

Reliance Industries is discussing a potential joint venture with Tesla to build an EV manufacturing facility in India [do we have a city or region? i think no based on the HBL article?]. The conglomerate is expected to have a major role in helping Tesla establish a factory and associated operations, according to the Hindu Business Line.

Tesla has also signed a strategic deal with Tata Electronics to secure semiconductor chips for the EV maker’s global operations, according to the Economic Times. Tata, a Tamil Nadu-based precision electronics manufacturer, has invested $14 billion into its semiconductor business and has facilities in at least three states.

The Modi meeting would have given Musk the chance to reassure concerned investors and drive up enthusiasm ahead of Tuesday, when Tesla reports its full first-quarter earnings report. Some analysts, such as Barclays’s Dan Levy, expect Tesla to miss Wall Street’s estimates and report gross margins that will likely disappoint investors.

Tesla stock dropped more than 4% in pre-market trading Monday to just over $140 per share, following a terrible week for the company. The stock had already — repeatedly — hit new 52-week lows last week after analysts cut their ratings and price targets in the wake of the mass layoffs and the departure of multiple executives, including Baglino.

This latest hit to the stock came after Tesla slashed prices across its lineup by varying amounts in the United States, China, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. “Tesla prices must change frequently in order to match production with demand,” Musk said on Sunday.

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