This year, the automotive industry, along with enthusiasts and car journalists alike, went a bit haywire and tried to keep on top of the so-called price war that saw Tesla aggressively out-price just about every competitor out there. Which is all nice and sweet for sales, but what does it do for its brand image?
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Just about every report you can get your hands on calls Tesla a luxury carmaker, which used to be true mostly because of the high entry price into the world of EVs. The Model S and Model X used to cost over $100,000, which was on par with the most expensive versions of comparable, albeit gasoline-powered models from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and other marques that have established themselves as premium or luxury-oriented.
Sure, price isn’t the only thing making a car a luxury car, with the consensus among enthusiasts being that stuff like a plush ride, high-quality materials, and features like massaging seats are to be expected from a luxury model.
Mind you, Tesla’s models aren’t known for having the best quality interiors out there, and for this reason alone one could argue that they were never luxury cars. However, with the multiple MSRP cuts and incentives offered on a federal and state level – at least for the Model 3 and Model Y, which are Tesla’s best-sellers – the prices are also on a less-than-luxury level.
Right now, the Model 3 starts at $38,990 for the base, rear-wheel drive version, while a BMW 3 Series, which is similar in size to the American EV, has a starting price of $44,500 for the gasoline-powered 330i.
Tesla Model Y
Tesla Model S Plaid
Tesla Model X
Tesla Model 3 (non-facelift)
It’s a similar story for the rest of the range, too, with the $74,990 entry-level Model S being less expensive than a comparable BMW i5 M60 or a Mercedes-Benz EQE 500.
When the $7,500 federal tax credit, state incentives, and potential fuel savings are thrown into the mix, the Model 3’s cost of ownership is on par with a Toyota Corolla, which has never been seen as a luxury car.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s amazing that the price of EVs is going down and that more and more people can get behind the wheel of one, but a luxury car is supposed to be aspirational, not a tool that just gets you from point A to point B.
So, with all this being said, what’s your take? Let us know in the comments section below.
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