The Tesla Model X will be an extremely important vehicle for the company, but the notorious CEO of company, Elon Musk, envisages a particular demographic for the electric car. This third Tesla vehicle in 12 years, a souped-up SUV which has apparently hugely impressed in road tests, is a significant departure from previous Tesla releases. The Model X will appear wildly different to the sportier Model S which is already on the market.
Model X divergence
And acknowledging the difference between the Model X and previous Tesla models, Musk has stated publicly over the last week that the Model X will particularly appeal to women. Indeed, it seems that this Tesla vehicle has been designed for female users in particular, with Musk actually referring to the previous Model S as “a little too guy-centric”. Thus, the Model X will result from a production process which has paid more heed to the needs of women, according to the Tesla supremo.
SUVs are, of course, one of the most popular vehicle types in the United States, precisely because they appeal to a wide demographic. The multi-purpose vehicles are particularly popular among female drivers, who often have the task of ferrying around families and children. As America’s females show a greater interest in purchasing motor vehicles, this has become one of the United States’ fastest growing car markets.
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Tesla female focus group
In order to attract female motorists, a group of designer from Tesla convened with a female focus group at its Californian headquarters last year. The purpose of this was to survey which aspects of the Model X were considered most appealing by this representative group. This diligence appears to have paid off, at least according to the proclamations of the company itself. Musk stated publicly earlier this year that over half of the pre-orders made for the Model X have come from women.
There is no doubting the importance of the Model X to Tesla. Although the rise of the corporation has been meteoric, there have been doubts that it can maintain its prominent position in what is an incredibly competitive niche. With several major automakers indicating their interest in producing an electric vehicle, Tesla has placed a huge amount of faith in the Model X, and its ability to maintain Tesla’s strong market position.
Apple eyes Tesla niche
In addition to the major automakers moving into the electric car market, Apple is increasingly linked with the notion of producing its own electric vehicle. An Apple car would unquestionably provide a major rival to Tesla products, although the involvement of Apple in the electric car industry could be viewed as a positive sign for Tesla.
Not only has the Tesla corporation been linked with collaborating with the consumer electronics giant on battery and in-car music technology, but even an Apple electric car would be far from disastrous for the company. Indeed, Musk himself has already stated that he welcomes any Apple involvement in the electric car industry, and if this might seem a little strange, there are fairly logical reasons for this assertion.
Apple has dominated pretty much every niche that it has entered in recent years, and is currently in an incredibly dominant financial position. The corporation became the first ever $700 billion market capitalized company last year, and has gone from strength to strength in the consumer electronics marketplace. The emergence of an Apple car could only seek to grow the electric car niche, and although Tesla may not be able to retain a dominant position following this eventuality, it may instead be able to obtain a smaller slice of a much larger cake.
Model X key to Tesla future
The Model X was first unveiled in 2012, and this extremely well regarded vehicle seats seven people, offers all-wheel drive, and features unique falcon wing doors that fold upwards instead of swinging outwards. Tesla maintains that despite several previous delays, vehicle will go on sale in September, with a retail price expected to be in the region of $70,000. The company stated earlier this week that it had attracted 20,000 reservations for the Model X thus far, and considering the assertions made by Musk this must mean around 10,000 pre-orders from women.
With Tesla’s share price having fluctuated over the last 12 months, some positive sales news would be a veritable boon for the company, and thus attracting female drivers could be a major coup for Tesla. The success of the marketplace will be extremely critical for the short-term future of Tesla, particularly as it has no other vehicle releases planned until 2017.
A couple of years from now, the Tesla Model 3 is expected to launch, at an affordable pricetag of $35,000. But for the time being, Tesla desires a massive market success from the Model X, so it is a natural strategy for the company to cast its net as widely as possible.
SUV figures point to huge female demographic
The figure provided by Tesla could be feasible, considering that women bought around half of the compact SUV’s which were sold in the United States last year. IHS Automotive data also indicates that many of the United States’ market-leading SUV’s and crossover vehicles – such as the Nissan Rogue, Hyundai Tucson and Buick Encore – are registered to female buyers.
With the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers indicating that women spend as much as $200 billion every year on vehicles and maintenance, Tesla clearly intends to decisively tap into this fertile niche. This is something that the electric car manufacturer has manifestly failed to do thus far, with data from IHS in 2013 indicating that men in fact accounted for 86 percent of Tesla model S registrations.
As Tesla announces a tie-in with Mattel this week, enabling people to buy a Tesla Model S as a toy, it is clear the electric car manufacturer has a bold market strategy in place for the forthcoming Model X. This is undoubtedly the most significant electric vehicle in the history of the market niche thus far, and Tesla is therefore hoping to attract a broad demographic to this critical product release.