Who will be Model 3 customers?

Who will be Model 3 customers?

With several hundred thousand Model 3 anticipated for production, where do you see the majority of these new owners coming over from? Audi? BMW? Lexus? Honda?

carlgo2 | February 6, 2015

From luxury brands for the most part, but some people will stretch the budget via the more water in the beans economic plan.

cliffmccormick | February 6, 2015

#car buyers

Red Sage ca us | February 7, 2015

In the first six months -- Mostly Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, AUDI, Acura, Infiniti, Cadillac, and BMW shoppers.

Through the first three years -- Mostly Honda, Toyota, Chevrolet, Nissan, Volkswagen, and Buick buyers.

Beyond that? #CAR_BUYERS

mjp25 | February 7, 2015


plafor | February 7, 2015

I would not be surprised if many Model S owners buy a Model 3 as a second car. The smaller/cheaper Model 3 will be a great car to drive downtown or high traffic areas where space is limited and the chance of denting/scratching your car are higher.

carlgo2 | February 7, 2015

Plafor, I think you are right that the 3 will often be purchased to use as a second car, by S owners and ICE drivers alike.

Its arrival might be the most anticipated in the history of cars. And there are a lot of interesting parallels to that story, like gigafactories, possible partners, the charging infrastructure, dealership issues...

Brian H | February 7, 2015

And lots of posters here trying to cram $150K worth of features into a $35K car ...

bigd | February 7, 2015

cmcnestt felt obligated to say "IMO it will be mostly but not exclusively green car buyers first." Nawww IMO it will be all kinds of people not just greenies. I personally hate to think that Tesla only appeals to greenies. It will have some purchases from that group just like some will not buy it because it is a "battery car". But overall, mostly from people who just want a great car at a great price ;-)

Red Sage ca us | February 8, 2015

BMW crammed $35,000 worth of technology into a $150,000 i8...


floydboy | February 8, 2015

Agree with CMCNESTT. Initial buyers will be the techies, greenies and fandom who couldn't afford the S's price of admission. Disagree with taking on AMGs and CTSVs though. I don't think attempts will be made, initially, to win over the high end hot rod crowd with this particular model. At least not until some minimum threshold of 'sales+ability to deliver-vs-cost to build' is met. That 'hot rod' niche, until then, will likely be held exclusively by the S and the X.

It's a more cost effective strategy, that will allow Tesla time to work out the performance chinks in the model S performance armor. Especially if you're going to take on the likes of an Audi RS7 at a circuit or in the twisties!

My5bAby | February 8, 2015

20~35 year olds from all demographics. I've driven all over the country and universally young adults, some too young to drive, are saying the Model S is their dream car. When Franz Von H. designs/delivers a gorgeous Model III this demographic will be all over it equalled only by their devotion to smartphones !

ian | February 8, 2015

Like the S they'll release the halo version first. Why? Higher margins on it just like the S.

So the first buyers will be sports car enthusiasts.


bigd | February 8, 2015

Red Sage offered an observation "BMW crammed $35,000 worth of technology into a $150,000 i8..." Now that was funny, sadly true, but still funny.

ian | February 8, 2015

Very clever and hilarious observation indeed. Red is good for those!

floydboy | February 8, 2015


All valid points, agreed.

Red Sage ca us | February 8, 2015

Yeah. My point is that ICE technology is greatly overinflated in pricing. It costs hardly more to build one than another. Sure, some high tech materials, like titanium, Teflon, or carbon fibre might be used on some builds... But basically, we are talking about alloys of steel, aluminum, and iron.

I think that people have a strong tendency to assign the economics of ICE to electric vehicles. I think that they also tend to overlook why certain ICE vehicles cost as much as they do. Often, it isn't because the materials are particularly better, harder to fabricate, more expensive to come by... It really is just marketing. Nothing more.

Discounting brakes, tires, and suspension bits... The only real difference between a 180 HP BMW 320i and a 425 HP BMW M3 is the engine. Yet the performance version of the car costs $62,000 -- fully $29,050 more than the base version.

Tesla Motors' per unit profitability is largely based on piggybacking those concepts. The Tesla Model S 60 and the Tesla Model S P85D are a lot closer to each other than people realize in terms of the cost to build them. The 'D' vehicles have a second motor, and more beefy frame construction. Pretty much everything else in the car is the same.

I doubt that the $34,900 base version of Tesla Model ☰ will have 425 HP. But I am absolutely positive it will not be relegated to a paltry 180 HP either. I figure it will have at least a 300 HP motor, or a pair of 150+ HP motors. That should be enough to wipe the floor with a BMW 335i that will cost at least $15,000 more by 2017.

Overkill. More than you need. A steal. Better than expected. Groundbreaking. A game changer. This is how I expect the base version of the Tesla Model ☰ to be described. And the actual performance tuned versions of the car will cost substantially less than $62,000 prior to adding convenience options, while being even more impressive on an oval track, road course, or drag strip.

bigd | February 9, 2015

cmcnestt "Most people are risk averse. Prove its safety, reliability, and residual value.." Agree and that will have been satisfied with the MS/MX when the M3 gets here.

"I don't know many techies driving Suburbans and Hellcats. If we see gasoline at over $4.00/gallon by the time Model 3 hits the streets then that will spur things along quicker. If you combine your two sentence's, you see your own answer as the economics is the reason for the aversion to these vehicles

timrogersmail | February 9, 2015

I am Tesla's mass market customer. Waiting for the Model 3 while driving a Ford Fusion and a Chevy pick-up. The Model S is out of my budget, but the first EV with 250+ mile range built by Tesla and supercharger capable for under 45K will be in my garage. I realize the first version of the model 3 may not have enough range for me, but when it does, or when the hopeful optional battery fits into my budget...I am ready to place the order and send the deposit. Fire engine red please!

Grinnin'.VA | February 9, 2015

@ cmcnestt | February 8, 2015

The quickest and cheapest way to amplify demand among the mass market buyer that is financially able to buy a $35k car is build an ultra high performance version of it.

1. Tesla's mission is to facilitate the transportation industry transformation to renewable energy sources.

2. Mass market autos are NOT 'high performance' cars.

So how does focusing on "ultra high performance" help achieve Tesla's mission?

PhillyGal | February 9, 2015

Mixed bag but I'm definitely with @plafor - Current Model S owners who have either no desire or no budget for two large Tesla Sedans. (Does anyone else find "Model S" to be too painful to pluralize in writing?)

But also, current leaf/prius drivers and techies.

In my wildest dreams, a 3X (smaller crossover) will be available soon and will come in a Performance version right from jump street... in which case I'd run to put down a deposit so quickly whatever was in my hand at the time would hang in the air like a cartoon.

PhillyGal | February 9, 2015

Advanced reservation-taking for all current Roaster, Model S, Model X owners, pretty please?

Tstolz | February 9, 2015

It will be everyone ... just consider who bought Model S ... it was luxury buyers as well as Prius, Volt, and leaf buyers. I'll get one as a second vehicle to our S too.

bigd | February 9, 2015

PhillyGal "Advanced reservation-taking for all current Roaster, Model S, Model X owners, pretty please?" No way, stop been so greedy Phillygal. Got to spread the excitement to new clients. Mr. Musk goal is a tesla in every garage, not two in a few garages. All kidding aside --
"But also, current leaf/prius drivers" would never own one of those but as soon as M3 comes out I am on the list. I still think you will be amazed at the different demographics of people who will snatch them up in the 35 grand range (if all the previous owners don't snatch them up :-).

David N | February 10, 2015

I would think existing S and X owners may pick up Model 3 for their children that are still at home.

PhillyGal | February 10, 2015

@bigd - It is so hard not to be greedy once you get a taste of Tesla!
In my case, our Model S is my husband's car so I only get the joy once or twice a week.

But you are absolutely correct - this car will know no bounds. Excuse the comparison but credit where credit was due: the last recent car I've noticed with such mass appeal was that first iteration of the Chrysler 300. Some folks from every single demographic seemed to love that car.

7thGate | February 10, 2015

I agree this will pull in the younger demographic to a great degree. I'm in the 25-35 tech worker segment, where the model S is the dream car, but it costs too much at this stage of life for most. If the model 3 actually costs the amount it is claimed it will and is not too much worse than the S60 in space, performance and battery distance, I know a number of people who will be all over it.

carlgo | February 10, 2015

My unscientific take is that performance is more of a factor than green-ness. You know, 3.1 without guilt. I have talked with dozens of people about Tesla and they never have mentioned green driving at all, just the performance, design and overall coolness of the car, plus saving on gas as kind of a throw-in.

carlgo | February 10, 2015


About a year ago I happened upon a Chrysler car show. It was awesome. Hemis from the '50s on, so much more interesting than the more popular Chevys and Fords of the time. The 300s were very compelling cars in every year of production.

Rocky_H | February 10, 2015

@carlgo, quote: "My unscientific take is that performance is more of a factor than green-ness. You know, 3.1 without guilt."

I totally understand that first sentence perspective, but I am exactly the reverse of that. I like the fun feeling of cars that are sporty for the few times I've gotten to do it, but I couldn't stand the wastefulness of owning one. Efficiency was my #1 priority, and fun #2, so #2 just didn't happen. I've had 7 cars before this, and they were all 3 or 4 cylinders (yes, there was a 3-banger Geo Metro in there). So then your second sentence is still applicable to me, because I could finally have an efficient car that also had some power and performance and fun to it.

AA_4_Tesla | February 10, 2015

Majority from the Japanese customers. My folks (and many of their friends) haven't bought American for many years. The quality just never met their expectations.
Give them a Tesla with top of its class in everything and they'll easily drop 40-50k on it.

I'll be grabbing a Model III and saying goodbye to my Honda in 2018, Musk willing.

bigd | February 10, 2015

@PhillyGal - "It is so hard not to be greedy once you get a taste of Tesla!" Cant dispute your logic.
"In my case, our Model S is my husband's car so I only get the joy once or twice a week." Wow, your husband is a lucky man, I have already been informed that it will be at my disposal for a few days a week. Unfortunately, the other days she drives farther and I have not formulated a good argument for my use on those days. HELP.

bigd | February 10, 2015

cmcnestt "Scolding people to buy the most efficient no fun vehicle and insisting it is good enough for their needs leads green car companies into bankruptcy." Excellent point!!!

Bikezion | February 10, 2015

Red Sage ca us | FEBRUARY 8, 2015 NEW

BMW crammed $35,000 worth of technology into a $150,000 i8...

And then hide it under a hood that takes seven minutes and two people to open!

Bikezion | February 10, 2015

Model 3 buyers? Do you realize how many people want a model S, but can't fathom the money? And how many more now that the P85D is here? I really think they will be production constrained on the model 3 for a long time! It's a self fulfilling circle. Tesla releases model 3, people put down deposits, Tesla delivers model 3, more and more people become aware of it, more deposits, more deliveries, more awareness, more deposits,....

Red Sage ca us | February 10, 2015

1) Tesla Motors believes driving should be fun.

2) Every Tesla Motors product will be performance oriented.

hpjtv | February 11, 2015

@OP Why does it matter where it goes as long as it goes?

james.nicklin | February 11, 2015

I will never be able to afford a $70-120k vehicle. $35k will be easily within reach for me for a BEV where I never have to pay for gas again. Road trips will become more frequent when I don't have to worry about gas along the way. Model 3 will likely be the next new vehicle I buy. I don't need a new car right now so I can afford the wait.

Grinnin'.VA | February 11, 2015

@ cmcnestt | February 10, 2015


@Grinnin'.us.VA: "Tesla's mission is to facilitate the transportation industry transformation to renewable energy sources. ...
@Grinnin'.us.VA: So how does focusing on "ultra high performance" help achieve Tesla's mission?"

Mass market autos are NOT 'high performance' cars.
Tuning a base Tesla BEV into a high performance version does not require an inordinate amount of resources.

It seems to me that Tesla's primiary focus for the last 6 months has been trying to deliver the P85D. They let the S85D slip by 2-3 months. (IMO, this wasn't the way Tesla wanted the rollout of its AWD cars to go. Surely Tesla knows that higher delivery delays for S85D orders cause anxiety and frustration.)

That is how it helps accomplish the goal of sustainable transportation. I doubt this.

Let me summarize what you seem to be saying. (Please correct any inaccuracies in this.)

1. 'High performance' cars are NOT mass market cars.
2. Tesla should continue to focus its engineering resources on 'high performance' cars.
3. This will best facilitate the transformation of the transportation industry to renewable energy sources. That is, it's best for Tesla to ignore the preferences of mass market car buyers.

I guess we agree on one thing: M3 will NOT try to appeal to mass market car buyers.
You seem to like it that way; I think it's a big mistake. IMO, the best way to accelerate adoption of BEV cars is to try to make a BEV that is designed and marketed to appeal to mass market car buyers. And somehow, that seems to make me a heretic!


Rocky_H | February 11, 2015

@Grinnin', cmcnestt corrected statement number 1.
"High performance ICE cars are not mass market cars."

That's why this is different. That was a paradigm of the ICE world, where high performance always meant expensive and inefficient. That is not the case with electric cars. They will still be efficient, even while also having performance and not be too expensive in TCO because of electric being a cheaper fuel than gas. So with electric cars in a mid range price, they are attractive to most of the mass market.

Red Sage ca us | February 11, 2015

Once again... If it were possible to build fuel efficient 3.5 liter 60 valve quad-turbo 12-cylinder engines that were balanced and blueprinted to operate at peak performance without needing a pit crew to follow you around everywhere -- then performance cars would be m@as market cars instead of weekend conveyances for the exclusive use of the very well off, new well-to-do.

It is certainly possible to build a very capable 3.5 liter 24-valve twin-turbo 6-cylinder engine that is reliable, durable, and reasonably efficient as far as ICE vehicles go anyway and offer it in a well appointed vehicle for a price point in the sphere of the market the Tesla Model ≡ will occupy...

And, let's face it, back in the Good Ole Days, when gasoline was cheap and plentiful, anyone willing to put aside an extra ten or twenty bucks a month for a couple of years or less could save the cash necessary to purchase the Performance option -- an upgrade to the big bore, high displacement, high compression ratio, quad carburetor, dual exhaust, V8 powered horsepower monster -- to throw under the hood of the family station wagon if they wanted.

High performance is... An AMERICAN Tradition™, you see. Mustang, Camaro, Firebird, Challenger, Corvette... These were just fancier siblings to other, more subdued cars in the same manufacturers stables. They often shared motor mounts, interior trim, transmission, and exhaust options with friendly neighborhood, ordinary, everyday family cars that could be equipped as 'sleepers' just by checking the appropriate boxes on the order form.

The joy of Tesla Motors is knowing their fundamental commitment to bringing that same excitement to every single vehicle they offer, regardless of market, price point, or configuration. It worked great before... Why not again...?

For the past forty years the American car buyer has been denied affordable performance due to fuel cost concerns. The time has come to rescue them from that automotive Purgatory. Tesla Motors shall be their Savior.

PhillyGal | February 11, 2015

@bigd - Eh... most people find it weird but we keep some of our finances separate. Car payments are one of those things. His choice of post secondary education afforded him very little in the ways of student loans. Mine, not so much, so I still have half a Model S in student loans to tackle before it would make fiscal sense to get an expensive car for me to drive every day. "Soon."

Grinnin'.VA | February 11, 2015

@ Rocky_H | February 11, 2015

"High performance ICE cars are not mass market cars."

That was a paradigm of the ICE world, where high performance always meant expensive and inefficient. That is not the case with electric cars.

If this is true, it's not obvious to me. Tesla hasn't made a BEV that wasn't expensive from my point of view. IMO, until they make cars that satisfy mass market buyers expectations at competitive prices they will not be a mass market auto maker.

@ Red Sage ca us | February 11, 2015

High performance is... An AMERICAN Tradition™, you see. Mustang, Camaro, Firebird, Challenger, Corvette...

Many U.S. buyers prefer 'performance' cars. But they aren't the models that lead the "mass market".

Red, I know you love 'performance cars'. That's OK with me.
I don't love 'performance cars'. And I want Tesla to try to build and market a BEV that can compete well against the leading mass market ICE cars. Do you have a problem with that?

Brian H | February 11, 2015

More battery capacity → longer range and more power. More power → more performance. More performance → more headlines and free publicity. More publicity → more sales.

Git it yet, Grinnin'?

Rocky_H | February 11, 2015

"If this is true, it's not obvious to me. Tesla hasn't made a BEV that wasn't expensive from my point of view."

Yes, currently expensive, but that is the factor of capacity, with batteries being more expensive than a gas tank. No one else offers a battery this big so their cars are cheaper. The performance and efficiency factors come mainly from the engine/motor and drivetrain, where electric does have the advantage in those categories.

Grinnin'.VA | February 12, 2015

@ Brian H | February 11, 2015

More battery capacity → longer range and more power. More power → more performance. More performance → more headlines and free publicity. More publicity → more sales.

Git it yet, Grinnin'?

Brian, you're right to note that increasing battery capacity will increase range, power and 'performance'. And faster drag racing performance does get the attention of many people. Some people are sufficiently impressed by that to order 'performance cars' from Tesla.

However, what Tesla has NOT been making cars with higher capacity batteries. Instead, Tesla has focused on faster acceleration using the same batteries. I believe Elon's most recent statement was something like "We'll offer higher capacity battery packs for the MS, but NOT any time soon".

With the P85D, Tesla reduced the 0-60 time of its featured 'performance' variant from 5.2 sec to 3.2 sec. This latest innovation, however, did NOT increase the range as measured by the EPA testing. BTW, with less powerful motors, the S85D does increase the range. I wonder if the same engineering effort that developed the P85D could have increased the range of the S85D more if they had tried to do that as a top priority. I presume we'll never know one way or the other.

Regarding Free Publicity: The latest 'free publicity' for Tesla is the story about Tesla's failure to come even close to its projected deliveries in 4Q2014 as they focused on trying to deliver P85Ds as planned.

I offer you a prediction: If Tesla fails to include a higher capacity battery for the MX this year, my TSLA stock will go down some more. I just checked. TSLA was selling at $196.15 a share, quite a bit down from their 2014 peak.

I've understood every point you've made. I just disagree with you. IMO, faster drag racing is NOT the key to Tesla's future success.

Go Tesla!

If any of my claims are inaccurate, PLEASE explain my errors.
(Repeating your counterclaims is NOT an explanation.)

7thGate | February 12, 2015

I am also not convinced that high performance is going to be especially relevant for mass market success. I'm not in car afficionado circles, but I've never met anyone who has mentioned that they bought a car based on performance or horsepower, except to check and make sure it was sufficient to get to highway speeds. Everyone I know who has mentioned a reason for a car purchase has bought based on cost, interior amenities, safety rating or cargo hauling capability. Cost seems to generally be the most cited variable.

That being said, I don't think having high performance is going to hurt, really. I would imagine the cost to include high performance in the model 3 is going to not be that high, since the large battery has to exist anyway in order to provide range, and my understanding is that it doesn't cost that much more to build a higher horsepower electric motor. As long as it doesn't drive up the cost significantly, it will help rope in some percentage of the populace that cares about such things.

james.nicklin | February 12, 2015

High performance is all relative.

I had a 2006 Nissan XTerra with a stick stift. Rated for a 7.0s 0-60. I could chirp the tires at 60 with a quick downshift to 3rd gear. I once, on a traffic-less day, hit 113 in 4th gear by the end of a freeway onramp (this was the only time I needlessly went over the speed limit). All this still sounds plenty quick to me and that is with a 0-60 time over twice the P85D.

A Model 3 with a 0-60 of ~6s (similar to 60kWh Model S right?) would still be more than fast enough for any of my needs.

Red Sage ca us | February 12, 2015

If you want an electric Camry tell Toyota to build it for you.

If you want an electric Accord tell Honda to build it for you.

If you want an electric Altima tell Nissan to build it for you.

If you want an electric Malibu tell Chevrolet to build it for you.

If you want an electric Fusion tell Ford to build it for you.

If you want an electric Passat tell Volkswagen to build it for you.

If you want an electric 6 tell Mazda to build it for you.

If you want a Tesla product at an affordable price point, then Tesla Motors will build you a performance car, that happens to be more energy efficient than a Prius, because that is what they do.

Cyberwolfman | February 22, 2015

Well I'll definitely be in line to buy the Model 3 as soon as deposits are being taken. I just bought my last ICE car (barring any accidents that may total it). To make sure it was the last one I had the engine replaced with a new one so it's good for 100k. I've got 3 Toyotas now, a Camry, a Corolla, and a Sienna.

I'm so done with buying gasoline. This temporary price dip has been nice, except for the higher traffic on the freeways. That's one thing that was nice when gasoline was over $4 a gallon, no traffic!

I've got my Solar City panels, and am going to get a backup battery later this year as well. When I get asked "where do you think the electricity comes from for that car?" I'll just show them a picture of my roof and say "THE SUN." No middle-man, less complex conversion of energy to propulsion, it should last long time.

And the beauty of an electric car, as battery technology improves, a better battery can be installed when the old one eventually needs to be replaced. In 10 years a battery of the same physical size could get a car an additional 50% or more distance. Can't really do that with a gasoline tank. It HAS to be bigger to go further.

chrispga | February 22, 2015

I'm already saving for the car. I'll be ready to preorder, I'm ready to pay. I know what color I'm getting, I'm excited. I'm hoping for 250 mile range and 0 - 60 in 3.5 seconds. I've never been this excited for a product. Well, the original iPhone and the iPhone 6.