Will the Tesla Model 3 Kill Off the BMW 3 Series?

Tesla has very high hopes for its midsize Model 3 sedan.

It doesn’t just hope to survive and sell enough copies to make the investment worth it—the electric carmaker plans to revolutionize the auto business by selling a hundred thousand or so every year.

That’s a lofty goal. All of those sales would have to come from somewhere… and the BMW 3 Series could be the sacrificial lamb. In fact, one investor believes sales of the 3 Series could “go to zero.”

Venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya suggested that the Model 3 could wipe out sales of the popular BMW sedan. During an interview he said,

There is not a single person of right, sound mind and body, if you could build a Tesla Model 3 online and get it delivered in 30, 60, 90 days, or you have the choice of buying the BMW 3 Series will choose the BMW.

Sir, I beg to differ.

The 3 Series is one of the most successful automobiles ever created and sells upward of 60,000 copies per year in the United States. Sales will not go to zero. Plus, BMW owners are some of the most loyal on the planet and won’t be easily swayed by an upstart automaker and its first attempt at a midsize sedan.

That’s not to say, however, that the Model 3 won’t have an impact on BMW sales. The German automaker is said to be working on an electric 3 Series, but those potential buyers are the ones who are most likely to jump ship to Tesla.

The company’s Model S outsells premium sedans from both Porsche and Mercedes-Benz, so it’s not too far-fetched to wonder if it can outsell BMW, too.

Do you think the Tesla Model 3 will end the existence of the BMW 3 Series?


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  1. I believe Elon is stalling the release of the $35K Model 3 to allow battery prices to drop enough for them to not lose money on each car. By releasing the larger battery pack Model 3 he “roughly” meets the delivery commitments he has made, while waiting for the gigafactory to be able to produce the lower capacity batteries at a reduced cost.

  2. absolutely not. Deliveries of the 3 series will not be until 2020 or later. The competitor will therefore not be the 2018 3 series but the 2020/2021 3 series. They have plenty of time to prepare for this competition and have already begun doing so

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