Over the last few weeks there has been intense speculation that Tesla Motors is now looking towards the hatchback market to create a vehicle for the masses. This would certainly be a major diversion from the company's main sports car market, although it is certainly something which the company has considered on numerous occasions in the past. Is now the time for Tesla to move into the mainstream market?
Tesla hatchback concept
The company has been very secretive with regards to plans for a mass-market hatchback, although detailed sketches have emerged during the last month. The company will neither confirm nor deny speculation in the press, although this is not something new from the company which has a history of being very secretive and all of a sudden coming out with groundbreaking and headline grabbing vehicles.
The idea is that Tesla can use knowledge gleaned from the creation of the Tesla Model S and Tesla Model X to create a sub $20,000 vehicle which would attract the masses. This would then allow the company to get out there into the wider market and perhaps tempt those hooked on the Tesla brand-name to upgrade to the more expensive sports range in due course. Whether this will work or not remains to be seen as there are no definite plans at this moment in time for the release of a sub $20,000 hatchback.
Why is Tesla going for the mass market?
The reality is that many of us have heard of Tesla and the variety of electric cars which the company has created over the years. Many of us are well aware of their eco-friendly credentials and the fact that they are the leading electric sports car company by a country mile. However, how many of us have actually test driven a Tesla vehicle? How many of us have actually sat in the passenger seat of a Tesla?
The reality is that Tesla has an image which it has created over the years, which has in many ways kept the company well away from the mass-market and more towards the luxury end of the sports car market. While there is significant money to be made in this particular area in the longer term, the company also acknowledges that the mass-market appeal for a relatively low spec Tesla could significantly improve the company standing both on a financial basis and a public relations basis.
Will the Tesla hatchback concept ever come to fruition?
At this moment in time the company has teased journalists and observers by allowing these Tesla hatchback concept vehicle sketches to be released into the public domain. The company is very reluctant to give any more details on the concept or the project and indeed has refused to even confirm it is working on a hatchback concept vehicle.
The chances are that this vehicle will take many years to come to market, if it ever it does come to the main market, and by the time it did arrive it would likely be very different from the sketches and the relatively thin spec which we see today. This however is a story which is well worth monitoring as the months go by because obviously Tesla is looking to expand its presence in the electric vehicle market and perhaps ramp up of production of an entry-level vehicle into the mass market.
The revelation that Tesla has even been thinking of a Tesla hatchback concept car has obviously captured the minds of many journalists. The company has teased the media with sketches of a potential concept vehicle, although it is unwilling to step forward with any more detail. It seems only a matter of time before Tesla does enter the mass-market with a vehicle priced at under US$20,000 although we would likely need to see a significant reduction in production costs, material costs and an increase in demand for such a vehicle.
If demand for such a vehicle does grow stronger in the years ahead and Tesla is able to create a quality car for less than US$20,000, watch this space!