Electric car maker Tesla is expected to launch its relatively affordable $35,000 Model 3 Friday.
It’s not just another sedan, auto industry observers are saying. It’s the California automaker’s bid to boost sales and invade territory long held by General Motors, Ford, Fiat Chrysler and others.
“Tesla has much to celebrate with the delivery of the first Model 3s, but the high-profile electric car maker faces a challenge like never before,” Michelle Krebs, executive analyst for car marketplace Autotrader, said in a statement. “The Model 3 is intended to be high volume — a first for Tesla. It is aimed at the core of the vehicle market in terms of price.”
The Model 3 will face stiff competition, Krebs added.
Akshay Anand, executive analyst for Kelley Blue Book, said the new model may be the key to Tesla’s success or failure.
“Tesla is still a halo, lifestyle brand to many consumers, so the Model 3 represents the first time the brand is within reach,” Anand said. “Will the Model 3 meet lofty expectations? Can production continue without hiccups, unlike with the Model X?”
If the Model 3, along with the Chevrolet Bolt, meets or beats expectations, it could be “the early steps toward an electric future in automotive.”
The launch is happening at a time when the government of the United Kingdom recently pledged that it will ban vehicles with traditional internal combustion engines by the year 2040, following similar declarations by France and Norway.