CarMax Offers How Much For A Tesla Model 3? – Video

Tesla Model 3


How much is a one-day old Tesla Model 3 worth?

This is exactly what Ben Sullins set out to discover. We all know that if he decided to sell the car, he could likely get more than he paid for it. This is pretty uncommon, but the car is popular and hard to come by at this point.

Tesla Model 3

Ben Sullins in his Tesla Model 3

Generally, as soon as you drive a car off of the dealer lot, it depreciates some 20 percent or more. So, Ben decided to take his new used Model 3 (which he picked up the previous day) up to the local CarMax to see what they might offer him for it.

Sullins assures us that this is no marketing ploy for CarMax, the company isn’t sponsoring the video, and he’s actually dealt with the CarMax in the past and had a great experience.

Sullins’ Long Range Tesla Model 3 set him back just about $60,000 out the door. The mandatory Premium Upgrades package and Autopilot each added $5,000 to the $44,000 price tag, resulting in $54,000 plus about $6,000 in taxes and fees.

Ben estimates ahead of time that CarMax will offer him about $35,000 for the car. However, he’s fairly confident that they don’t know much about the vehicle, nor do they have any accumulation of data yet regarding the Model 3.

Shockingly, CarMax surprises Ben with an offer of $42,000. With all of Ben’s credits, the car actually cost him $44,000, excluding the registration. Interesting share for sure!

Video Description via Teslanomics by Ben Sullins on YouTube:

CarMax had never seen a Tesla Model 3 before I took mine there.

I’m a big fan of numbers, and in terms of car ownership, there are none more important than depreciation. Some cars depreciate upwards of 20% from the moment you drive them off the lot.

So exactly 1 day after taking home my Tesla Model 3 I thought it would be fun to find out EXACTLY how much money I lost. I know some of you will argue I could sell it for more because of the scarcity, YOUR’E RIGHT, however, for all other cars, this is not true. SO I thought this would be fun to find out what CarMax would offer.

What did you think of the result? Was it higher or lower than you expected? Leave me a comment and let me know.

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26 Comments on "CarMax Offers How Much For A Tesla Model 3? – Video"

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Wow. 30% depreciation.

No. 20% depreciation.

Ben pays $60K-$7.5 Fed Tax Credit = $52,500

Carmax offer $42,000
$52,500 – $42,000 = $10,500


Volt#671 + BoltEV

Oh forgot he needs to keep the car through a TAX season to get the $7,500 Fed Tax Credit.

Volt#671 + BoltEV

No: 30%. The price has to include any money paid to the dealer/manufacturer including any money paid for with all types of funds (private and public) to recognize the true value of the car.

Now imagine how much worse a Bolt or Leaf would be.

The $2500.oo California CVRP that Ben is including for his discount, along with the Fed Credit ($7.5K), is only applicable if he owns or leases the Model 3 for at least 30 months, if he sells or trades the vehicle before that time, he still owes Cali. $2.5K, no discount can be factored into his well presented Carmax equation. At least I hope I have that figured correctly.

Not exactly with the state incentive…You receive the CA incentive after you apply for it…CA does not send a bill to collect the prorated amount if you sell it or register it out of state; the only time this could affect someone is when you apply for the incentive again…You can also appeal this, some have reported that if you job forces you to relocate outside of CA, they’ll forgive the debt…

I don’t really understand how that’s surprising. 30% depreciation off total paid or 23% off sticker price is right in line with what would happen for most cars.

You forgot the 10k in incentives.

(What’s ten Grand between friends?)

He wouldn’t be eligible for the federal incentive if he sells the car. That’s $7.5k of that $10k. He might be able to do the CA rebate.

Nope, to keep the full CA rebate you need to keep the car for at least 30 months.

The more interesting question is if CarMax did buy it, how much would they sell it for…


I traded in my GMC Terrain to CarMax several years ago. They gave me 15.5k, and listed it for 19.5k shortly after (sold fairly quick).

I would expect they would list that Model 3 for at least $50k at a minimum. If it were a “normal” car that is.

I wonder what will happen to CARMAX and the like if Tony Seba is right. He predicted in the UAE just a few days ago that car ownership is dead in a few years time, because fleets will own autonomous cars that will drive us for 10 % of what we would pay if we own a car.

True autonomous driving is more than a few years out. Even if they were available tomorrow it would take quite awhile for it to displace the used car market. Car sharing makes sense in densely populated cities. But for people in the suburbs there is less of a benefit.

I’m a big fan of EVs and autonomous driving, but Seba is a nutcase.

Think about why a lot of people own a car. You can get uber and taxis already but still people are buying card, why does everyone think autonomous cars are going to magically change this mentality? Freedom to go where you want, when you want. Car hailing means waiting for the car to arrive or planning ahead, so you just lost a bit of that freedom. Pride in keeping a nice car. How well will the ride sharing car be kept? Did the last person make a mess and just leave it? NYC taxis Already havea reputation for finding all sorts of interesting things in them, imagine how that goes when people are riding in the car without anyone else to view what they are up to. Also, how often do they get washed? Some people take a lot of pride in how their car looks. Convenience is another factor. I keep work tools in my car, what does ride sharing mean, that I have to move those tools every single time I use a car? My wife keeps Sun glasses in the over head storage, so now we have to take them out every time? Just think about the… Read more »

If you believe it will cost just 10% I have a bridge I would like to sell you.

I don’t know why people like CarMax. When I was buying my MS, CarMax offered me $14500 for my old car. I listed it for sale for $20k and there was so much demand that I actually sold it for $22k a week later.

You are the exception, not the rule…This is an EV site, most EVs have very little demand and its often hard to sell it for even the trade in price to private individuals…Volts/Leafs/500es do not hold their value well and have very low demand…

CarMax offers better pricing than the overwhelming majority of dealerships; trade in offer is only one part of the deal so dealerships may be offering more on trade in due to still making a healthy profit…It costs nothing to receive an appraisal from them, I recommend to anyone who’s buying a car who doesn’t want to deal with selling it privately to get a free appraisal from CarMax to compare it to a dealership offer…

You can get a check that won’t bounce in 30 minutes for your car from CarMax.

Sell the car yourself and you can likely net more, but then you have to spend the time and energy to meet with people (including possible whackos and nutjobs). Some people find the guaranteed CarMax check more appealing than spending who knows how much time trying to sell yourself.

It won’t bounce in 30 minutes… then again, it won’t clear for 30 days. But, I actually liked selling to CarMax, apart from that.

“We all know that if he decided to sell the car, he could likely get more than he paid for it.”

eBay says something else.

This is not “30% depreciation”.

Most of the gap between Ben’s 60k gross price and the 42k Carmax offer is sales tax and various fed/state income tax credits. The rest is wholesale vs. retail.

The Carmax offer is inflated because Model 3 availability is so tight. If Tesla were at 5k/month already as originally planned the offer for this car would be closer to Ben’s 35k guess.

CarMax is in the business of making money and they can’t do that offering fair prices. The one time I deal with them they offered a price so low for my car that I couldn’t stop laughing. But them again, used car buying dealers all do this.