2016 Tesla Model SEnlarge Photo
Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] buyers are generally pretty set in their ways, but research suggests some surprising buying habits that should have established German car brands on high alert as the electric car manufacturer readies its relatively inexpensive Model 3.
Bloomberg, using data from Edmunds, discovered that more than a quarter of Tesla buyers had also considered a BMW. Along with BMW, two other German brands (Audi and Mercedes-Benz) were in the top five list of brands Tesla buyers had looked at.
Other luxury brands—including Cadillac, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Lincoln—were much less likely to be considered by Tesla buyers, the data showed.
Here's a look at the top 10, listed by percentage of Tesla buyers who considered a product made by each manufacturer:
What may make BMW the main target is that the brand has dedicated a larger chunk of its American-market lineup to electrification than Audi or Mercedes-Benz, and its products are generally more performance-oriented like Teslas.
Looking ahead, with the Model 3 set to list for about $35,000 before any federal, state, and local incentives are applied, Tesla has grown its potential market considerably over the Model S and Model X whose price tags start much higher. And with the Model S outselling many luxury sedans priced close to $100k, we wouldn't be surprised if the Model 3 does the same to cars in its price segment.
Interestingly, a number of non-luxury brands also show up high on the list of Tesla competitors so it's not just luxury brands that should be worried. These brands are likely cross-shopped against Tesla because buyers who want an electrified car also have options like the Toyota Prius and Nissan Leaf.