Electric vehicle maker Tesla representatives are expected to meet India’s commerce minister this month to discuss plans to build a factory to produce what the company has described as an “all-new $24,000 car”, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

According to the report, Tesla has expressed an interest in building a factory in India that would produce low-cost EVs for the local market and for export, the person said, adding that the company had indicated that it would be for the new vehicle.

Reuters reported that the discussions represent a sharp reversal for Tesla after efforts last year to reduce import taxes on EVs shipped to India were scuppered by calls from government officials to commit to making cars locally.

The meeting with the commerce minister would be the highest level discussions between Tesla and the India government since June when Tesla founder Elon Musk met India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said he intended to make a significant investment in the country, the report added.

The 2 million rupee ($24,000) EV Tesla representatives were said to have described in discussions about a potential Indian plant would be 25 percent cheaper than its current lowest priced offering, the Model 3 sedan which sells for the equivalent of just over $32,200 in China.

The $24,000 target price for the new Tesla vehicle was reported earlier this month by The Times of India newspaper, according to the report.

Tesla did not immediately respond to Reuter‘s request for comment.

EV makers including Tesla and China-based BYD has expanded their footprint in Malaysia and Southeast Asia amid a price war in China market earlier this year. Last Thursday, Tesla officially launched its operations in Malaysia. According to Kenanga Research report, the first delivery of Model Y in Malaysia is expected in the first quarter next year (1Q24) from its Shanghai Gigafactory with an estimated pre-booking units of more than 2,000 units, with up to 4,000 units per year.

The Shanghai Gigafactory is Tesla’s largest car manufacturing plant outside the United States, earlier reports showed. In 2022, the company delivered 1.31 million vehicles globally, more than half of which were from Shanghai, according to its financial results, CNN reported.

Tesla to invest in Malaysia, boosting the country’s sustainable mobility