When Tesla first started leasing the Model 3, it made it clear that lessees wouldn't have the option to buy the car at the end of the lease term. Instead, the automaker mentioned reclaiming the cars for use as robotaxis. The same rule applied to the Model Y.
Not long ago, several reports pointed to new language from Tesla that made this rule seem ambiguous. It was suggested that Tesla is likely opening the opportunity to offer the leased cars for purchase by the lessee. However, there were few specifics. Some articles suggested that perhaps Tesla would allow lessees in specific markets to buy the cars when the lease expired.
Now, information from a new report by Teslarati confirms that Tesla is allowing Model 3 and Model Y lessees to purchase the car at the end of the lease period, though it only applies to vehicles in certain European and Asian markets, at least for now. Tesla's leasing policy is as follows, via Teslarati:
“Our used vehicle business supports new vehicle sales by integrating the trade-in of a customer’s existing Tesla or non-Tesla vehicle with the sale of a new or used Tesla vehicle. The Tesla and non-Tesla vehicles we acquire as trade-ins are subsequently remarketed, either directly by us or through third parties. We also remarket used Tesla vehicles acquired from other sources including lease returns.”
Despite this language, some Tesla Model S and Model X owners have enjoyed the opportunity to purchase their leased car after the lease period ended. This was true in global markets, including the U.S.
Tesla did publically confirm that, "in certain regions," Model S and X lessees may have the option to purchase the car once its lease expires. However, it was again made clear that this isn't the case with the Model 3 and Y.
More recent language from a 10-K filing pointed out the potential for some Model 3 and Y lessees to have the buy-out option in Europe and Asia, though there was also conflicting language, making the situation even more ambiguous.
With all of that said, it is now confirmed that some Tesla Model 3 and Model Y lessees may not be forced to return the vehicle once the lease ends. Instead, they can opt to purchase it. The language is as follows, per Teslarati:
"Depending on the specific program, customers may or may not have a right to return the vehicle to us during or at the end of the lease term. If the customer does not have a right to return, the customer will take title to the vehicle at the end of the lease term after making all contractual payments. Under the programs for which there is a right to return, the purchase option is reasonably certain to be exercised by the lessee and we therefore expect the customer to take title to the vehicle at the end of the lease term after making all contractual payments.”
So far, Tesla's "lease-to-buy" option appears to be available in the following markets:
- The Netherlands
This is a developing story. If you live in any of the markets listed above, let us know if you've been made aware of such an option. In the meantime, we'll continue to gather information and report on this topic as new data becomes available.