Musk postpones India visit amid Tesla obligations

Chief executive of electric car maker was supposed to have unveiled investment in the country

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk. The company has big plans for India. Reuters
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Elon Musk has postponed his visit to India because of obligations at his company and plans to visit Asia’s third-largest economy later in the year.

Tesla's chief executive was supposed to have started his visit to India on Sunday and meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He was also expected to announce investment there.

“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,” Mr Musk wrote in a post on X on Saturday. He, however, did not reveal when he plans to visit.

India is seeking new investment from companies to spur growth and generate employment.

India, the world’s most populous country, is currently holding voting for its national elections, with Mr Modi seeking a third term as the Prime Minister.

Mr Musk met Mr Modi during the Indian Prime Minister’s visit to the US last year and announced Tesla’s intention to invest in India.

“I am confident that Tesla will be in India and will do so as soon as humanly possible,” Mr Musk told reporters after meeting Mr Modi in New York, according to an AFP report.

Mr Musk, also chief executive of SpaceX, said he hopes to take the company's Starlink satellite internet service to India.

The postponement of the visit comes as Tesla plans to reduce its global workforce by more than 10 per cent because of declining sales and increased competition in the electric vehicle market.

The Texas-based company had 140,473 employees as of December last year.

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Mr Musk said the move would help the company to become “lean, innovative and hungry for the next growth phase cycle”.

“We have done a thorough review of the organisation and made the difficult decision to reduce our headcount by more than 10 per cent globally,” Mr Musk said in a memo sent to employees.

Tesla this month reported a nearly 8.5 per cent annual drop in its March quarter deliveries.

That drop, the first in four years, was blamed on various factors, primarily Houthi rebel attacks on shipping in the Red Sea, an arson attack at Tesla's German factory and increased production of the updated Model 3.

The world's largest car maker by market value produced 433,371 cars in the first quarter but delivered only 386,810. It marked the first time Tesla reported a year-on-year decline since the coronavirus pandemic affected deliveries in 2020.

The company is scheduled to announce its first quarter financial results on April 23.

Updated: April 20, 2024, 8:00 AM