Look at the back of your car or the next car that passes. Unless it's a Lamborghini ultraluxury or something similar, you've probably seen what car company was making the car (maybe a Honda) as well as its model (probably a Civic).
Now look at the back of the Tesla Model 3, the newest sedan of the electric car company.
It's almost completely nude, apart from the Tesla logo above the license plate. (The dual-engine version is marked and labeled "Dual Motor", so there are exceptions.) Its predecessors, Models X and S, released in 2015 and 2012, respectively, did not receive the same treatment – their names were displayed prominently on the back of the car. But when the new 3 models began to appear in the factory and on the roads in 2017, the only clue that a vehicle was a model 3 was a proposed Model 3 license plate frame by the dealer. Now that cars are more abundant, the frames come off and there is not much to indicate which car it is.
After doing a test drive last week, I discovered the model name. was printed on the car, right at the door of the driver's seat. A more private identifier to reassure the driver, perhaps?
Badging is what the automotive industry calls branding the logo, name, model number, engine specification, as well as other stickers, pendants, prints, prints, etc. at the front and rear of the vehicle. Europe and the United Kingdom have a long history of false modesty and intentional "de-registration". You could have the Mercedes SL or V12 basic version, literally double the price. If you as a car owner delete badges, no one will ever know if you have gone for the premium version or if you have used the base model.
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, wants electric vehicles to go to the masses, not just the elite and the wealthy. Model 3 is starting at $ 42,900, but Musk is determined to increase it to $ 35,000. At this price, it is supposed to feel more accessible while maintaining its high-end features, its look and high-end design.
So maybe the 3 de-badging model aims to achieve this state of ambiguity observed in Europe. This is neither an expensive and inaccessible vehicle, nor a basic low-end ride.
Karl Brauer, executive editor at Kelley Blue Book, a company specializing in automotive evaluation, considers that the back of the model 3, almost stripped, is "useful and meaningful". Tesla decided not to add unnecessary stuff to his car, but kept a crisp and clean look, he thinks. For Brauer, this gives the tone and message of the type of car and level of luxury expected inside and behind the wheel.
Automotive Magazine The aesthetics of Tesla has been praised: "The simplicity studied both from the inside and the outside will let this car age extremely well.In 10 years, it will always look modern and sober, not old and without importance."
With this distinctive design, you could argue that Tesla decided not to need a badge for the model 3 mark. The design itself does, suggested Brauer.
But there is also a less glamorous and more practical side: "A minimalist design saves you a lot of money," Brauer said. With fewer badges, more chrome and more facilities, it's easier to resize and produce as many cars as quickly and efficiently as possible.
As Brauer pointed out, last year for Tesla was devoted to learning mass production. Musk has gradually reduced variations in the manufacturing process, whether it's paint colors, moldings or drum configurations.
"The more you make a car … the less expensive it is to produce," Brauer said. It does not matter, but all the badges M, O, D, E, L and 3 of thousands of cars add up.
Eric Lyman, chief analyst of the TrueCar sector, agrees. "Their design is minimalist strategically, so it can be more affordable," he said at a phone call this week.
Lyman also shared a history of the automobile on the automaker Acura. In its early days, in the late '80s and early' 90s, cars bore names such as Integra and Legend. But eventually, the company opted for alphanumeric names, like the MDX. Why this change? It is thought that the vehicle names were ahead of the mark, with people more familiar with the models instead of the brand, which was still young and in the process of being established.
Lyman sees a similar logic with Model 3: Tesla wants people to say that they drive a Tesla instead of a particular model. It's easy to forget, but Tesla is still a startup brand.
Joe Wiesenfelder, editor-in-chief at Cars.com, said in an email that it was confusing that Tesla imitates high-end brands with his missing badge, while trying to entice a wider audience. "It is quite rare that a mainstream vehicle does not have its model identified externally," he added. However, these are well-known vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Camaro or Ford Mustang.
"Maybe these iconic cars are recognizable enough that they do not need a prominent model badge?" And maybe Tesla sees himself as part of these auto icons, without the badges or labels needed – or at least that's what he's aiming for.