Tesla to develop more affordable car, to woo younger clientele

In an aggresive move to conquer a younger audience too, Tesla is looking at unveiling cars for less than a third of that price. Tesla plans to to launch a certified pre-owned program that would cut the price for its $71,000 Model S sedan in half, according to Automotive News. And for its next generation of all-electric car, the Model 3 launching in 2017, it wants to let drivers bring it off the lot starting at $35,000.

Tesla’s Elon Musk is set to reveal on Thursday a change to the company’s lineup — computer-controlled steering? all-wheel drive? a truck? — but this shift toward affordability could prove to be the most momentous change in the eyes of American drivers.

Tesla will join a growing pack of niche and luxury auto icons now squeezing their entry costs in hopes of winning over a new market of middle-class buyers. Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have all slashed sticker prices and re-energized marketing in hopes of boosting sales and bumping away the competition, including Tesla.

“There’s going to be a new battleground where you’ve got luxury [car] makes moving downmarket a bit, and the low-end makes moving up,” said Steve Cannon, the chief executive of the U.S. division of German luxury giant Mercedes-Benz.

Tesla S on display at the 2014 Paris Motor Show