Traditionally, automakers produce "tiers" of vehicles at various price ranges, from "low end" to "ultimate", as well as numerous iterations within each model class. Think C-Class Mercedes (4 cyl, 6 cyl, 8 cyl, AMG-lite, AMG) vs S-Class Mercedes (same iterations, basically). There are marked differences between those cars in terms of size, quality of materials, feature sets offered, and other "exclusive" trim levels that are reserved for the upscale S-Class. Realistically, folks aren't cross-shopping between a C-Class and an S-Class, they just aren't deemed to be in the same league.
But with the Model 3, and I know it's very early and all we saw were some prototypes, is it just me or does there seem to be far less distinction between it and the Model S? Yes, it's smaller, but interior volume is said to be pretty close. We've already heard that AWD and "ludicrous" versions would be available, with darned near close 0-60 times and, more importantly, range. The interior quality of the Model S has been discussed as something of a weak point in comparison to other cars in that price range, and there has always been this sort of "stigma" that the Model S is a $40k car with a $50k battery attached to it. BTW, I love the Model S and think very highly of Tesla, in general, and am happy that there will finally be a car in my price range, albeit it 2-3 years down the road. So I'm not knocking the S, but what I'm wondering is that if a fully loaded Model 3 will be, let's say $60k with ludicrous speed and all the bells and whistles, the comparable Model S is $140k or so ... so what's the difference? If the Model 3 will have all of the same technology, and comparable interior quality, and be just as fast (or close to it) with just as much range (or close to it) but is half the price of the Model S ... I can easily see Model 3 sales cannibalizing Model S sales and I'd never say the same using the Mercedes example.
For the price of a new C-Class right now, I can get a very decently loaded 2-3 year old S-Class. No contest there, for me (I'd take the S-Class), and the two just are not comparable. But if I had to choose between a new loaded Model 3 and a 2-3 year old Model S ... I just don't see any downside to the 3 other than a little less cache (because it's a "cheaper" car) and maybe a little less interior volume. Further, based on what I know today, there's nothing in the Model S that makes it worth DOUBLE the cost of the 3.
Do you think they'll remodel the S, change up the interior, add more upscale luxury items, stuff like that, to further differentiate and warrant the substantial price difference? Or do you think maybe a fully loaded Model 3 will be closer to $80k or $90k? Or maybe the S gets preferred service, or will charge faster, stuff like that?
Or am I the only one who sees it this way?