NEW DELHI: Tech billionaire Elon Musk announced on Saturday he was postponing his visit to India, during which the Tesla boss was meant to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discuss big investment plans.

The news came a day after Musk’s electric car company announced the recall of nearly 4,000 Cybertruck vehicles owing to an acceleration pedal defect that increased crash risks.

“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,” he said in a post on his social media platform X.

Media reports had suggested the trip would begin as soon as Sunday and last two days, during which Musk would meet with Modi and aerospace companies.

Tesla was reported to be scouting factory locations in India after the government last month cut import taxes on electric vehicles for global automakers that committed to invest $500 million and to start local production within three years.

The policy also allows companies to import up to 8,000 electric vehicles priced at $35,000 or higher every year with greatly reduced import duties.

Indian media reported that Tesla might first import cars from its Berlin factory until it makes a final decision on where to set up a production line.

Experts say it’s unlikely the Indian market will be an immediate shot in the arm for the company, mostly due to the high price tag of its cars.

Tesla’s cheapest model now is the Model 3 sedan, which retails for around $39,000 in the United States.

Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2024

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