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Tesla 5-Series/E Class/A6 Competitor?

Discussion in 'Future Cars' started by EinSV, Feb 13, 2016.

  1. EinSV

    EinSV Member

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    Any thoughts on the likelihood of Tesla introducing a new model to compete with the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes E-Class and Audi A6? There is a big gap between the price points for the Model 3 and S, and this seems like low hanging fruit to generate margins to support development of lower cost/mass market models. Maybe in the 2019/2020 timeframe, after the next gen roadster?
     
  2. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    I think it might happen eventually. I expect Tesla will go after other complete markets first - pickup trucks, possibly a minivan (though they kinda intend the X to replace a lot of minivans it seems.)
     
  3. WarpedOne

    WarpedOne Supreme Premier

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    It sounds logical but I would not put it before 2022 at least.
    Model 3 won't be just a car, it will be a car to have.
    Tesla will have full hands just producing that vehicle in enough quantities (think 500k per year).
    If anything I'd guess after new roadster there will be even smaller car, a city EV.
     
  4. 1208

    1208 Active Member

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    By 20/20 the cost of an S will be reduced to A6 equivalent because of improved battery technology inc. gigafactory and other components coming down in price.
     
  5. EinSV

    EinSV Member

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    Possibly, but another option would be to continue to build features/performance/range of the S without reducing the price point much, and introduce a new model at a $50-60K (US) price point. The S would continue to outcompete the 7 Series/S Class/A8 plus new BEV competition, and Tesla could use all the factors you mention to go after the 5-Series, E-Class, and A6 segment.
     
  6. Red Sage

    Red Sage The Cybernetic Samurai

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    I really don't think so. There is no real necessity. Most believe that a feature laden Model ≡ will cost up to $65,000 or $70,000 anyway, just about the same as a base Model S. Because of the drivetrain, the Model ≡ will likely be classified as Midsize, even though it will have a smaller footprint than AUDI A6, BMW 7-Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class. So, as far as the interior and cargo space it will be the same, or larger than those cars. FYI, the BMW 3-Series is classified as Compact.
     
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  7. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    As they have with many other things, I suspect Tesla is going to stick with the Apple model here. One of the things that's made Apple effective/profitable in the 21st century is that they don't drop their price points. Instead, they keep adding features at the same price points, letting them position themselves at a premium brand and not spend a lot of energy fighting for the lower market where volumes are high but profits are minimal to non-existent.

    Tesla's already shown some tendency to do that - a current S70 is much better equipped than the original S60, but sells for the same money as the discontinued model.
     
  8. EinSV

    EinSV Member

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    It is possible that a modest size difference between the 3 and S would make it a little more challenging to come up with a compelling design that falls in between -- I guess we will know more on March 31. But from a marketing and profitability point of view it seems like a good way to expand sales of vehicles with significant margin, especially once the 3 has been launched and Tesla becomes more proficient in volume production. Worldwide sales for the BMW 5-series seem to run at roughly 2/3 of the 3 Series plus 4 Series, so the market is significant. Also, given the success the S is having in the high end sedan market, it is a good bet Tesla would do very well with a car designed to compete in this segment too. While Tesla will undoubtedly sell highly optioned Model 3s and some Model Ss to 5 Series/A6/E-Class customers, I expect they would do far better with a car designed and marketed to go toe-to-toe with the vehicles in this class.

    The idea would be to generate additional cash flow to support the development and production of high volume, mass market models at a lower price point (~$25K), where it might be difficult to make money until battery costs drop even further than they will have by 2020.
     
  9. deonb

    deonb Active Member

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    They have one. It's called a Model S. It's the exact same size and class as the 5 / E / A6. Don't let the price or Tesla's press releases fool you.

    What Tesla need to do is to come up with a luxury model to compete against the 7 / S / A8.
     
  10. Red Sage

    Red Sage The Cybernetic Samurai

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    EinSV: I apologize for the typographical error. Before, I wrote, "...AUDI A6, BMW 7-Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class..." That should have been "AUDI A6, BMW 5-Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class" instead.

    deonb: You are incorrect. You brought up something that truly irks me. People have a strong tendency to classify the 'size' of cars by their overall length, or wheelbase, especially in the United States. This is not something that is determined by the automaker, and it isn't what a press release has to say. It is determined by the EPA. And it is based upon interior volume and cargo capacity -- not exterior dimensions. Some 'big' cars are actually rather small inside. See a Fisker Karma, for instance.

    The AUDI A6, BMW 5-Series, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class are ALL classified by the EPA as Midsize cars. You don't have to believe me, read it on the EPA's website here:
    Compare Side-by-Side -- A6, 5-Series, & E-Class

    Be sure to click the 'Specs' tab. Where it shows the Tesla Model S is classified as a Large car. That is due to its combined interior volume -- not marketing -- and is an official specification. And yes, this is an advantage that the Model S enjoys because of: 1) the liftgate rear; and 2) the frunk up front. So what? That is simply great design and excellent engineering at work. It is NOT 'cheating' in any way. I expect if Porsche could manage a 600 cc 12-cylinder, 48-valve, Quadcam motor that got 700 HP and managed nearly 100 MPG, they would install it between the rear wheels and have a frunk in the Panamera too.

    Tesla Motors is NOT a luxury car company. So, no... They don't need to 'come up with a luxury model' at all. The Model S competes directly against the flagship vehicles from other manufacturers. There is a reason why AUDI no longer offers the base A8 any longer (though they did for 2015). It was classified as Midsize, the same as the A6. AUDI now only offers the A8L in the US. Which, due to its extended wheelbase, is classified as Large. And proof, again:
    Compare Side-by-Side -- A8L, 7-Series, & S-Class

    And, oh... By the way? The Model S has outsold all varieties of the A8, 7-Series, LS, XJ, Q70, Quattroporte, and Panamera three calendar years straight -- 2013, 2014, and 2015 in the US. While their sales have all steadily dropped, year-after-year, the Model S sales have grown. The Model S has outsold the Mercedes-Benz S-Class in 2013 and 2015, though the S-Class did reclaim its perennial throne temporarily in 2014. So, please, pretty please, with sugar on top, stop trying to downgrade the Model S to less-than-flagship status.
     
  11. jaguar36

    jaguar36 Member

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    There is no way a Model S competes with an S-class or 7-Series. Just go sit in the back of one of those cars and then go sit in the back of the Tesla, its not even close.

    I agree that the Tesla S is more of a competitor for the E-Class than the S-Class. E-Class wagon is very similar as it also offers 7-seats.
     
  12. trils0n

    trils0n 2013 P85

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    The Model S is sized very unconventionally. Most automakers build their competing cars within 1/2-1 inch of the other members of the class.

    The Model S is wider than an S class/7 Series/A8 (not just overall width, but track width as well), but considerably (about 10 inches) shorter. It is longer (4 inches) and wider (4 inches) than an E class/5 Series, with longer wheelbase than A6/E Class, and wider front and rear tracks.

    Look at a comparison chart on BMW or MB website, and put in 5 series/E Class/A6 and they are mostly within 1/2 inch in every dimension. Model S is quite different.

    Doesn't really fit into the categories as neatly as the other brands made their cars so close to each other.
     
  13. Red Sage

    Red Sage The Cybernetic Samurai

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    There is a 4" thick battery pack under your feet in a Model S. Were there naught but carpet, padding, a bit of glue, and sheet metal in the rear seat footwells, the perceived rear seat legroom would be... different. In any case, the Model S is a LARGE car. Those midrange cars are MIDSIZE. Period.
     
  14. EinSV

    EinSV Member

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    I have to agree with Red Sage that the Model S competes most directly with the 7 Series/A8/S Series. That will be even more true in the US after tax credits phase out.

    But regardless of which way you come out on the 'size' debate, it is hard to see a vehicle with an entry level price point of $75K (US) being the optimal Tesla competitor for the 5-Series/E/A6 class, which start at about a $50K price point (US). Although I am sure that some potential customers of these cars are digging a little deeper into their pockets to buy the Model S, I expect there are many more who will not be willing or able to pay an extra 50% for a car, no matter how compelling.

    If you search 'Tesla Model S too' in Google the first three results are 'Tesla Model S too expensive,' Tesla Model S too wide,' and 'Tesla Model S too big.' While obviously the Model 3 will address these issues for many buyers (including me), as Tesla tries to ramp from 500K units in 2020 to 2-3 million in 2025, an important piece of the puzzle could be a direct 5 Series/E-Class/A6 competitor that could generate sales of 200-400K units and significant margins to help fund development of higher volume, lower price point vehicles. Since Tesla has already proven it can wallop the competition at the top of the premium sedan market, why not go after the next level down?

    Plus, the Tesla design team is going to need something to keep them out of trouble after the Y launches -- I doubt the Roadster will be enough of a challenge to keep them all busy ☺
     
  15. jaguar36

    jaguar36 Member

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    Size is only a portion of what determines what a car competes with. Look at this thread to really see what the Tesla is competing with.

    Pricewise in many parts of the country the Tesla is right with the E-Class/A6/5-series in terms of real price. Between the Federal and state incentives, the potential gas savings (although this is mostly gone now), depreciation and service/maintenance the prices are very similar. Even just on MSRP, the E-class maxes out at $136k. Model S maxes out at $144k, which minus the $7500 rebate is basically the same, and that ignores any state incentive.

    Regardless, there are few people cross shoping the S with a 7-series. And there is little reason for Tesla to make something that's only a little bit smaller than the S.
     
  16. Model 3

    Model 3 Active Member

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    Well, after the Model Y they have - as you mentioned - the RoadsterNG, and then the Tesla Pick-up truck, Van's, facelift of Model S/X, Coupe and convertible - and I hope a wagon - versions of the Model S/3. I think they will have a lot to do anyway :)

    I do have some doubt that they accentually will go for a smaller/lower priced car then the Model 3. At least not until about 2025 or after. Yes, a smaller/cheaper car will give them higher volumes, but I think that the cars mentioned over is enough to keep them busy for a long time. Their strength is not (yet) mass-production, but advanced compelling EV's.

    As for the 5-series/7-series competitor I have always thought of Model S as somewhere in between the 5-series and the 7-series. And I suspect the Model 3 will be more in between the 3-series and the 5-series then just a competitor of the 3-series. But, that is not yet known :) If I'm right, there will not be much room for a model in between the Model 3 and the Model S.
     
  17. Brad_NC

    Brad_NC Member

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    Maybe what we should really be asking is...

    When will the POTUS get a TESLA "BEAST"?

    hehe
     
  18. EinSV

    EinSV Member

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    M3, you make good points regarding all the challenges on the horizon for the design team, but if the target is, say, 2.5M vehicles in 2025 more models will likely be needed beyond the Roadster and refreshes/variants of the S/X/3 (although I personally would love a Model 3 convertible :smile:). Elon has made it clear that a truck is in the mix at some point, but there are added risks to mass adoption of a Tesla F150 class competitor that don't really exist for a 5-Series/E-Class/A6 vehicle, including a very different customer base and, apparently, some significant range challenges when towing (Tesla Model X Range Impact When Towing), which could be an important factor with many F150 customers. I am confident Tesla will eventually create a compelling F150 competitor, but why not go after the low-hanging (and high margin) fruit first, and use the cash to fund development of a category crushing F150-class truck?

    I also agree with you that Tesla's strength right now is building advanced, compelling vehicles, and that moving down the market to more affordable cars than the Model 3 is going to be challenging. But driving down market as fast as possible is a key part of the secret master plan, so I think a lower priced vehicle than the M3 is probably in the cards within about 5 years of the M3 launch. But Tesla is going to need cash to fund development of the next generation of lower priced, high volume vehicles, and it seems likely that the $75K entry price point of the Model S limits the size of the market to 1/4 or 1/3 of the customers who might be willing to buy a vehicle that is priced starting at $50K, even though I recognize there are many examples of people moving way up market to buy the S.

    As far as whether there is room in the line-up size-wise, JB recently said that the Model 3 will be a similar size to the Audi A4. If that's correct there should be room for Tesla to develop something not as wide and a little smaller than the S but still noticeably larger than the Model 3. And there is always the possibility that the S could get more rear seat room and other added space when it gets a refresh in a few years.

    I can see why some people might think that a Tesla 5-Series/E Class/A6 competitor would be less exciting, sexy and world-changing than some of the other things Tesla has in its sights. But Tesla is going to need to find a way to fund all of its other projects, and given the huge success of the Model S, a sure-fire way to dramatically increase sales of high margin vehicles after the Model 3 is launched would be to sell a car targeted at the 5-Series/E Class/A6. And after all the "excitement" of the X development and launch, maybe something more straightforward and a little less "exciting" has added appeal for Tesla supporters, customers and investors. :smile: In any case, if Tesla is able to totally dominate the premium market by offering competitive vehicles at every price point, it will accelerate the pressure on all other premium/luxury manufacturers to switch to BEVs to survive. And once BEV is firmly established in the public's mind as the "premium" technology, it is just a matter of time before every new car customer is going to demand it. Granted this will likely happen anyway with the S/X/3, but I think it would happen even faster if Tesla developed vehicles targeting the mid-point in the premium market, not just the high and low ends.
     
  19. Red Sage

    Red Sage The Cybernetic Samurai

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    That is because there are so FEW 7-Series buyers to begin with... And, 7-Series buyers have diminished every year that the Model S has been available. Meanwhile, Model S sales have steadily GROWN.

    Once again, I believe the Tesla Model ≡ will be classified as Midsize, though its exterior dimensions will have a similar footprint to those in class that are instead Compact. People who want to drive 'big' cars will protest, while those who want to drive 'smaller' cars will rejoice.

    VEHICLE ___ 2013 ___ 2014 ___ 2015
    7-Series _ 10,932 __ 9,744 __ 9,292
    Model S __ 18,195 _ 16,550 _ 26,400
     
  20. ggnykk

    ggnykk Active Member

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    The current Model S is ALREADY sized the same as BMW 5 series/ Mercedes E class. It is just that Model S is currently priced one class higher to be the same as BMW 7/ Mercedes S class. So which German models the Model S is really competing with all depends on which perspective you cherry-pick.
     

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