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Tesla Model 3: Toyota is the latest automaker buying ads to convert Tesla reservation holders


After BMW and Nissan, Toyota is now the third automaker directly trying to convince Tesla Model 3 reservation holders to drop their pre-orders and buy its vehicles instead. Who can blame them? Tesla created a pool of ~400,000 potential buyers of a ~$35,000 electric vehicle. Automakers now want to tap into that pool.

Nissan was the first to try its luck back in April, just a few weeks after the unveiling of the Model 3. The Japanese automaker bought expensive full-page ads in the New York TimesLos Angeles Times, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal.

The message was a clear attack on Tesla’s reservation process which requires potential buyers to place a $1,000 deposit. The ad read:

“Why wait when you can drive an all-electric LEAF now? And why drop $1,000 to stand in line when you can get $4,000 cash back and best-in-class range?”

If Nissan’s LEAF sales in the US are any indication, the ad campaign didn’t have much of an impact on Model 3 reservation holders.

But it didn’t stop BMW to give it a shot too and release its own ad campaign aimed at Tesla last month. The German automaker’s “wait or drive” campaign tried to reach Model 3 reservation holders on the same points as the Nissan ad – the wait and the deposit.

The company even featured dummy Tesla Superchargers in one of its commercials for the campaign just to make sure you know they are talking about Tesla:

They are trying to convince Model 3 reservation holders to buy the BMW 330e, a plug-in hybrid with an EPA-rated all-electric range of 14 miles and a base price of $44,000. Needless to say, the campaign wasn’t well received by Tesla enthusiasts.

Now Toyota is the latest automaker buying ads to convert Model 3 reservation holders, and it’s to sell the fuel cell hydrogen Toyota Mirai no less…

While Nissan and BMW bought “traditional advertising” in newspapers and on TV, Toyota is going online.

People in California, virtually the only market in the US where the Mirai is available, are reporting being served ads when searching for ‘Tesla Model 3’ on Google:

As you can see, Toyota/Google are using ‘Tesla-Model-3’ in the URL for the search to match, but they are serving an ad for the Mirai, which again talks about waiting to buy like Nissan and BMW. While less important in term of resources, it’s definitely another ad campaign aimed at Tesla Model 3 reservation holders.

Toyota trying to lure Tesla buyers away from an all-electric vehicle and to the fuel cell Mirai is particularly interesting in the context of Tesla’s position on fuel cell hydrogen.

As we reported before, a battery-powered vehicle is almost 3 times more efficient in most cases. Tesla executives and founders are proponents of the idea that it doesn’t make sense to use the technology over batteries for passenger vehicles.

CEO Elon Musk calls them “fool cells”, CTO JB Straubel went on a rant about the technology earlier this year, and Tesla co-founder Marc Tarpenning went as far as calling fuel cell a “scam”.

The Toyota Mirai starts at $57,500 before incentives in California. The Tesla Model 3, which the automaker aims to bring to production at the end of 2017, will start at $35,000 before incentives.

Any Model 3 reservation holders out there willing to take Toyota on the offer?

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