Tesla is in danger of becoming the new Saturn

An exterior view of a Tesla showroom on Monday in Corte Madera, California. Worldwide preorders for Tesla’s Model 3 surpassed 275,000 in the first week that preorders were made available to the public.

Tesla, for all of its innovation and master plans to upend driving, could end up becoming something ordinary.

With the announcement of the Model 3 last week, Tesla pulled off what many would consider its most ambitious product unveiling to date.

Business Insider reported on the avalanche of preorders that followed — a number that easily climbed past 250,000 in less than three days.

Tesla plans to build 500,000 cars annually by 2020 — largely with the help of the $35,000 Model 3.

But, as Erich Joachimsthaler with Vivaldi Partners Group told Business Insider, while Tesla is busy transforming the industry, it could also transform itself into your run-of-the-mill car company.

“If General Motors’ Chevy Bolt is already hugely successful in the market by the time the Model 3 comes out, or BMW or Mercedes’ alternatives gain traction, I think that Tesla’s brand would be diminished,” Joachimsthaler said.

“It would just be another car manufacturer in the market, and the 500,000 units it’s expecting to produce in a few years is a nonevent.”

Joachimsthaler said that because Tesla revealed the Model 3 so early — more than a year ahead of its earliest production target — its larger, deep-pocketed rivals could gain a competitive edge.

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