NADA Releases Used Electric Car Price Retention Guide


With tons of used electric cars now coming off lease and hitting the lots, the timing of the release of NADA’s (National Automobile Dealers Association) “NADA Used Car Guide Perspective: Electric Vehicle Retention Report Card” is perfect. (Link to NADA’s report card – PDF form- here)

Before posting the graphics, we’d like to highlight NADA’s opening paragraphs, which describe what the Retention Report Car focuses on:

April’s edition of Perspective is the first of what will likely become a series of yearly reports that detail one, two and three year retention performance of electric vehicles (EVs). In this inaugural edition we’ll focus primarily on the most popular EVs offered for sale in each model year.

We’ve provided retention figures for the most popular style level as determined by its share of new vehicle sales. While retention for other styles within a model lineup may be better or worse than the ones provided, the differences are generally small and do little to change the model’s overall standing in the used marketplace.

The retention calculation is a function of a three month average (March–May 2015) of NADA’s average trade-in value divided by a vehicle’s typically-equipped Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). Typically-equipped MSRP data was sourced from NADA Used Car Guide and ALG. Note that a vehicle’s rate of depreciation, and ultimately retention, is in part a product of the level of discounting at the time of new. As such, typically-equipped MSRP’s do not include any state or federal tax credits, nor do they include any manufacturer incentives or rebates available at the time of purchase.

Okay, so now that we know what we’re looking at, here are the three graphics release by NADA:

123Surprised by any of the results?

*Please do check out the entire NADA guide on EVs here for additional details, as well as some brief explanations of the results

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37 responses to "NADA Releases Used Electric Car Price Retention Guide"
  1. Peder says:

    They really need to back out the federal tax credit and aveage state credit before they do their calcs.

    As a percentage of price these incentives are very low for a Tesla but very high for a Volt or Leaf and about midrange for the BMW i3.

    Thus at resale, after the original owners take the incentives, the resale percentage looks lower for the lessor priced cars.

    They mention it in the report but they should graph it at least backing out the federal tax credit.

    1. kdawg says:

      If you factor in just the federal tax credits here’s how the PiP, Volt, and Fusion Energi compare.

      PiP = 74.9%
      Volt = 71.4%
      Energi = 70.6%

      1. Thomas J. Thias says:

        Not sure what is going on here with NADA.

        The non inclusion of the Fed $7,500 Tax Credit that is automatically factured into what this odd NADA release calls the ‘Retention Value’ yet not deducted from the MSRP is nothing short of problematic and disturbing to me and from an Automotive Lenders standpoint.

        This is not a metric that NADA uses in supplying daily absolute values for loans for Automotive Lenders nationwide.

        Interesting enough, NADA on their Twitter page, seems to be enjoying this not so accurate used Electric Fueled Vehicle report as can be seen in their recent Twitter post.

        Link goes To @ NADAUsedCarGde Tweet (06.15.2015 | 4:35 pm-


        My Turn-

        I have been in the car business for over 30 years at the retail level.

        The absolute metric for used vehicle retained values is what a Bank, Credit Union or Commercial Lender will loan as retail. PERIOD!

        Most of the North American Prime Automotive loan underwriting now is automated.

        Computer programs pull the borrower’s credit report and the N.A.D.A. current published Clean Retail Value.

        With generally good credit the system approves the funding at 100% of N.A.D.A. Clean Retail Value.

        With an exceptional credit score the metric is 110% to 120% of N.A.D.A. Clean Retail Value.

        With a sub par credit score the metric is 80% of N.A.D.A. Clean Retail Value.

        Thus, rather then 50 different opinion’s of value the N.A.D.A. Current Clean Retail Value is the accepted absolute valuation for making loans in a US Used Car market of half a million cars, annually.

        Bottom line-

        After the Fed $7,500 Tax Credit, I can get a new MY 2015 Chevy Volt Extended Range Electric Vehicle for just $26,670.00 not counting certain states additional incentives!

        Link Goes To Chevrolet Dot Com- (06.23.2015 | 11:42 am EST)-

        The N.A.D.A Clean Retail Value, The loanable valuation for Banks, Credit Unions and many Lenders on a Used MY 2012 Base Chevy Volt EREV with 35,000 miles, taking into consideration the Fed, $7,500.00 Tax Credit is a stunning $17,500.00!

        This shows that the base used MY 2012 Chevy Volt Extended Range Electric Vehicle is holding a stunning 65%+ of its current net Retail Value, new.

        Link Goes To N.A.D.A. Used Car Guide – NADAGuides Dot Com – 2012 base Chevy Volt EREV Valuation- (06.23.2015 | 11:52 am EST)-

        The Lender’s push the loan’s and the absolute loan valuation is based on the current published N.A.D.A. Clean Retail Value.

        Finally, the national Auto Trader Dot Com average sale price, and I stress, SALE PRICE on a used MY 2012 Chevy Volt EREV is a whopping $17,804.00 and backs up the N.A.D.A. Loan Valuation metrics.

        Link Goes To Auto Trader Dot Com – Used MY 2012 Chevy Volt Extended Range Electric Vehicle – See End Of Listing For National Average – (06.23.2015 | 11:56 am EST)-

        Something is not right-


        Thomas J. Thias



    2. Brian says:

      You cant just assume people got the full 7500 as well.

      1. Thomas J. Thias says:

        Brian said, “You can’t just assume people got the full 7500 as well.”

        Thank’s Brian. Your right.

        For retail, new Electric Fueled Vehicle sale’s, not everyone qualifies for the full Fed $7,500.00 Fed Personal Tax Credit based on personal tax exposure and more importantly, on the true Fed metric of vehicle Traction Battery kWh, size.

        Know this, though, Big US Automotive Used Car Industry Financing, based of the apparently now, old NADA Used Car Guide valuation schedule, has factored this Fed Tax Credit in as true vehicle depreiation, as they must, from day one, for used Electric Fueled Vehicle Valuations, of course.

        (As you learn from my earlier post, I have no idea what NADA is up to with its confusing new North American used car industry valuation’s metric.)

        The question is, why now has NADA Used Car Guide apparently developed a new depreciation scheduel based on undocumented wholesale auction runs on certain Electric Fueled Vehicle’s.

        The bigger elephant in the china shop and now the question that must be asked is how this new “Retention Value” will effect wider, broder national used car markets and established lender metrics, as well.

        This disturbing new Used Car ‘Valuation Formula’, now known as
        the “Retention Valuation” by NADA Used Car Guide, so close to its recent announced acquisition by JD Powers is stunning in its scope.

        Link Goes To, “J.D. Power Announces Agreement To Acquire NADA Used Car Guide From The National Automobile Dealers Association”-

        This apparent, contrived reworking of used car lending valuations now based on so called observed, but undocumented wholesale auction runs, rather then ‘Average Clean Retail Value’ metric could, throw US National lending, of all used cars and light duty trucks into uncertainty and chaos.)

        Remember, lending underwriters have been replaced by computer loan approval lending programs, originally desingned by NADA Used Car Guide and with the average Clean Retail Value currently accepted as absolute used vehicle loan valuation for national US lenders.

        National Automotive Industry Lenders were quite content to use the former NADA Used Car Guide ‘Clean Retail’ Metric valuations for 100% loan approvals with generally good credit.

        That is up until now.

        The now, new J.D. Powers, N.A,D.A. Used Car Guide, Used Car Lending formula, now known as “Retention Value” as discribed by the N.A.D.A.’s Used Electric Fueled Vehicles, new Quarterly Retention Guide posted above is about to make National Used Car lending valuations going forward, an interesting rollout to watch.

        Finally, further study for you regarding the Fed Individual personal Tax Credit, Brian, can be had by reading the entire Congressional Act, known as the “Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007”, as signed into law by then President George W. Bush, considered by many to be the father of the modern Electric Fueled Vehicle Industry, by his Presidential signature on 01.04.2007

        Link Goes To “Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007”

        Finally, JD Powers may have bitten off more then they bargained for.

        Once again, this is my opinion from 30 years+ in the Automotive Industry, on a retail level-

        Unsettling to see is the apparent final act of the now acquired ‘NADA Used Car Guide’, a decades long provider of absolute lending guidelines from the National Automobile Dealers Association, by J.D.Powers, now on record, as publishing an entirely new, Used Vehicle depreciation schedule, previously unknown to U.S Automotive Lenders and financiers.

        This is gonna get very interesting.


        Thomas J. Thias



    3. pjwood1 says:

      Peder gets it, perfect. NADA is dressing down the data, by not first subtracting the tax-credits/rebates.

  2. gsned57 says:

    Honestly where can you find a used tesla for 50K? I know this is trade in value but even 3 year old Teslas are only selling at a 10% discount of their original purchase price even with 30,000 miles. The I-Miev on the other hand can be had for $7K with less than 7,000 miles on it. Kind of amazing how stark the difference is between the two.

    1. Mister G says:

      The difference between Tesla and imiev is to be expected…Tesla model s is a real passenger vehicle and the imiev is a golf cart with air conditioning and a radio.

    2. protomech says:

      You can dig through the Tesla CPO data here:

      There are maybe three dozen (of 311 removed/sold) vehicles that are under $60k, including about a dozen S85 vehicles.

      “I know this is trade in value but even 3 year old Teslas are only selling at a 10% discount of their original purchase price even with 30,000 miles.”

      The median CPO price for a 2012 P85 is about $68k. MSRP for the median vehicle is probably in the $100-110k range.

      1. Scott says:

        You have to remember that Tesla has gone through several price increases since then. I don’t have the numbers, but think that most 2012 P85’s could have easily been had for under $100k, at the time.

      2. See Through says:

        Tesla pays generous amounts for the trade-ins, so they can sell a new car and add it to quarterly sales numbers, propping the stock price temporarily. Sometimes, they paid more than what they can sell the car for. Next quarter, they will be forced to lower prices on all these CPO cars. Most are still priced unreasonably high and sitting there forever.

        1. pjwood1 says:

          If you are really seeing through what Tesla is doing, you’ve read the “what trade value did Tesla give you” thread, on TMC. It all came full circle from what many thought were low-ball offers. Tesla sold a lot, at cheaper 60-70k prices, and is in a better position to inventory what’s left. They appear to still be selling in the 70-80k range.

          In comparison to the number of used Camrys there must be on Toyota’s lots, I doubt a few hundred Teslas are a problem.

    3. Ryan says:

      This statement is totally false, Tesla has sold quite a few CPO Model Ss in the $50k’s, they just don’t last very long on the website. There are also many CPO cars that are sold without ever making it to the website.

      1. Gsned57 says:

        Then how do you find them? I’m looking at and eBay. If there are better places please let me know

        1. See Through says:

          Call Tesla service and negotiate. Offer $10K to $15K less than asking prices. They have several thousand unlisted cars. Elon doesn’t want to show his bad cards and spook the investors.

          1. mo says:

            How do you know they have “several thousand” unlisted cars? It’s easy to spot an anti-Tesla BS artist. I’m sure you are privy to all this secret information.

    4. mo says:

      Tesla’s CPO website. Investigate. See for yourself.

  3. paco3791 says:

    If you’re looking for used Tesla’s this is the best place to go –

    there have been a handful of S’s that have been sold in the 50K range. mostly the S60 model. the real deals are in the used P85’s though.

  4. Would curious the number of vehicle of each model used in calculating the “one-year” and “two-year” retention.

    Most people following InsideEVs understand that a large number (over 2/3s) are leased on 2 and 3 year leases. This means the pool of EV trade-ins for one & two year old models is very small.

    Additionally while state EV incentives vary by state, the $7,500 federial tax credit is available to both purchasers & leases and IS reflected in new and used EV values. Even on adverts most quote MSRP-$7500 value.

    It would be a good service to readers if InsideEVs re-tabulated the lists with MSRP-$7500 valued added as well as a recalculated Retention Percentage of purchase price.

    FYI: A good source for market value of a 1 or 2 year old EV for readers wanting real values is eBay via fata from completed auctions.

    1. Of note the “Trade-In Value” is what a NADA dealer paid for a vehicle on trade; not the value they re-sold a vehicle to a new owner. (difference includes conditioning and markup for profit).

      A good insightful reference:

      Further only about a third of vehicles are traded-in to a dealer on a new purchase. I have yet to see data specific to electric vehicles. Technically most EVs leased are not traded in, unless done before the lease term. This would seem to made the number of EV trade-ins a fairly small percentage of EVs.

      Lease returned vehicles are sold at action, unless bought at lease end.

    2. pjwood1 says:

      NADA’s one-year list also achieves the maximum shock value they are after, as they take all of the tax-credit out in the first year. Subsequent years will seem flat, and they probably won’t wave the list around as much.

  5. M Hovis says:

    Many are jaded by the falling MSRP as well.

  6. Stephen says:

    Even after Fed rebate Tesla will cost about $20k over 2 years. There are no bargains here unless you got one of the sweet lease deals.

  7. Anthony says:

    I’m still trying to figure out why my local Chevy dealership is sending me emails and calling me once a week to buy my 2012 Volt. Doesn’t make much sense – if the trade-in value is so low, I’ll keep it for 10+ years, as long as the battery holds up (unless I have some lifestyle change that requires a 5th seat).

  8. Lensman says:

    “Surprised by any of the results?”

    Yes, I’m surprised that used i-MiEVs are priced so low. No love even for the used ones! The fact that a car that’s so rare here in the USA would have such a poor retention indicates that the low sales volume isn’t so much due to Mitsubishi not offering more, as that Americans just don’t want it, period.

    I’m also surprised that the “Average TE MSRP” (“Typically Equipped MSRP”, I’m guessing) varies so much over the three years for the Model S, and that for the 2012 model year what appears to be the ASP (Average Sales Price) is only $88,550. Elsewhere I’ve read that the ASP of the Model S was about $95k, and now with the “D” upgrade plus the upgrade of the lower-end 60 kWh to 70 kWh, the ASP has gone to $100k.

    Yet according to this, in the first year of sales the ASP was only $88.5k? And that includes the first few months in which only the Performance trim was delivered to customers? WTF? Color me confused.

    1. Scott says:

      There was at least one pretty significant price increase that occurred somewhere during the timeframe between 2012 to 2013. I would suspect that’s a large source of the differential.

      1. Lensman says:

        Thanks, Scott. How quickly I forget!

        A $5000 price increase starting at the beginning of 2013 almost exactly matches the data above.

        1. Lensman says:

          Er… posted too soon. That $5k price increase would match the difference between the 2012 and 2014 figures, but the 2013 ASP of $96k still appears to be an outlier as compared to the other two years.

          That is assuming “Average TE MSRP” is equivalent to ASP, which may not be correct.

    2. I’m not surprised at all that used iMiEV prices are so low. This is a car that once leased for as low as $69 per month.

      If you need the absolute lowest cost car to purchase and drive, and range and comfort are not important to you, the iMiEV is it. But compared to any if its nearest EV rivals, all far better designed, built and appointed, it feels cheap and tinny.

      Mitsubishi was early on the scene with the iMiEV but they pitched away their lead and it’s unlikely they’ll get another shot at EV fame any time soon, at least in the U.S.

    3. Jay Donnaway says:

      Clean your lenses, man. A very high percentage of 2012 i-MiEV were leased at $249, $199, and even some $99/mo contracts, with stupidly high residual values (as in over $20k when a new car is now $14k). Those leases are expiring, flooding the market. Why such a low ‘retention’ rate? The lessors have refused to renegotiate the residuals, preferring instead to prove a loss at auction and let their insurers pay. With Mitsubishi demonstrating repeated marketing incompetence and vacillating support for continued production of this car, the market reacted appropriately.

      1. Lou says:

        Jay: Spot on accurate comments. When my 2012 “I” was coming off lease(and I was paying $150/month)I had a few payments left. The dealer(I purchased a used Volt)offered to buy the car from Mitsubishi—until they learned of the $25K+ residual cost and that the leasing company(Ally)would not reduce it even one cent. Now, I am half considering buying a low mileage used 2014-2015 at those prices. It was not a golf cart with a/c, but it was small. However, it fit my needs at the time and I’d love another pure BEV. Of course I saw a local Nissan dealer with a fully loaded low mileage 2013 LEAF SV for $15,000. Oh well, it’s an interesting dilemma to have…maybe in the year coming up I will spring for a clean, low mileage EV.

  9. Murrysville EV says:

    I’m sure the Nissan dealer will be shocked when I walk away from the $18k residual on my 12 Leaf when its lease is up.

  10. ClarksonCote says:

    The link at the bottom of the article doesn’t seem to be working… or is it just my computer?

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Yes, it does appear we tilted it perhaps. Replaced out the link now. Should be able to access the EV report again.

  11. Ken says:

    Hey, it worked in my favor. I bought a really clean Imiev with less than 10k miles for only $7999 for my mom recently to replace her Leaf lease that has a $17,400 lepo. I guess i should have tried to get it for $6k or $7k? I feel its an absolute bargain even at $8k. I went 93 miles on a charge with it the first week i drove it and it even has chademo (which her Leaf and my 2012 Leaf didnt have). Don’t count out the imiev unless you have driven one for a few days. This is coming from a 2012 and 2015 Leaf owner. Ive also driven a Model S for a week. I know neither Leaf nor Imiev compares to a Tesla, but for $8k-$9k, it’s definitely worth it to buy one. I bet some of the option packages on a Model S cost that much.

    1. Mister G says:

      I have a 2012 leaf SL, lease ends in December. My question is will I see a difference in performance between a Leaf and an imiev?

  12. Lou says:

    Using the charts, I am trying to figure out what a dealer might actually charge for a used EV. Assuming that the car would have typical 12K miles per year, a 2 y/o LEAF in good condition would sell for what? (On average, I realize that dealers mark up the cars substantially).