Used Tesla Model S Prices Show Signs of Weakness

JAN 25 2019 BY BRADLEY BERMAN 89

Is the market tired of the Model S? Is Tesla neglecting its signature model?

As we reported, the Tesla Model 3 is retaining its resale value better than all other electric vehicles – and much better than conventional compact cars. Resale value for Tesla Model X SUV is also holding up. But there are signs that the value of Tesla’s Model S is starting to wane.

Determining these values is an inexact science. But looking back at August 2018 CarGurus data, as reported by TheStreet.com, the value of a Model S dropped by 1.25 percent over the previous 30 days and 2.7 percent in the previous three months.

That was last summer. And today? CarGurus data now shows the value of a Model S falling by 4.28 percent in the last 30 days, and 9.93 percent in the last three months.

CarGurus data from Jan. 25, 2019

It’s not ideal to compare luxury vehicles other segments because higher-priced cars usually show higher depreciation than budget models. But the only other long-range EV currently on the market is the Chevrolet Bolt.

While a 2017 Chevy Bolt lost 6.52 percent of its value in the past year, a 2017 Model S’s value dropped 20.97 percent. Bear in mind this is not a decrease from its original purchase price but a drop in the value of these model-year cars from a year ago compared to today. All of these numbers should be considered directional – and not precise indicators.

As recently as December 2018, a study by Loup Ventures showed that a Model S only lost about 28 percent of its value after 50,000 miles. That amount mileage would typically be found in a 2013 Model S. But the 28-percent figure does not bear out from the latest CarGurus data, which shows nearly a 21 percent drop in the first year alone.

Again, it’s tricky business reading these tea leaves. But these factors are relevant:

  • The Model S looks pretty much the same as it did when introduced in 2012. Tesla future-proofs its cars via over-the-air updates – but styling updates also matter. Sales of the Model S in 2018 were below the previous two years – the first drop in annual numbers. The Prius Prime and Model X outsold the S in 2018.
  • All the buzz from Tesla these days is about the Model 3. That’s likely to continue in 2019. Is the Model 3 cannibalizing Model S sales? Regardless, new competition from Jaguar, Audi, and others could impact Model S sales.
  • Tesla no longer benefits from the full $7,500 tax credit. The credit amount will continue to diminish throughout 2019.

This week Reuters reported that Tesla is cutting back production hours for the Model S and Model X. It appears that the company will focus its efforts on bringing the most affordable Model 3 to market. What’s the fate of the Model S?

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89 Comments on "Used Tesla Model S Prices Show Signs of Weakness"

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I think it is very good value for money.

Those who buy a used Model S will find the cost of tires, parts and service to be shockingly high.

19″ tires are not expensive, it’s comparable with any other cars equipped with 19″ wheels. 21″, yes.
If the car is CPO, you get 4 yr/50k miles warranty, no cost for parts, Tesla doesn’t force you to do annual service like other brands. Without CPO? It can be very expensive.

Sadly they got rid of the CPO program a couple months ago. I was planning on picking up an P85, until I read the fine print that they are now just selling as is.

No, they didn’t kill their CPO program, they just starting offering two different warranty and reconditioning options. One option is the cars they fully recondition and give a longer extended warranty like the old “CPO” program. They just dropped the CPO name. The other option is cars that they don’t fully recondition and sell with a shorter extended warranty that are more like traditional used cars.

It is easy to sort between these two types by searching by warranty length either on Tesla’s website or on one of the third party Tesla used/CPO websites.

Can you provide a source for this info? As far as I can tell, they aren’t doing a full recondition on ANY of the used cars anymore. I saw plenty of trashed cars (curb rash x 4, dents, etc.)with the 4/50k warranty when requesting pictures.

Point out defects and get yourself a bigger discount. Tesla would much rather a bump in their revenue (even if it’s a bit lower than planned) than have inventory.

They don’t have inventory of used S they buy it from a auction house

Well then, that change in Tesla’s CPO program certainly might explain why the average selling price of a used Model S has dropped in the last 90 days, wouldn’t it?

Strange that this change in Tesla’s CPO program didn’t get a news article here. Or if it did, then I missed it.

Belated addition: But Nix’s comment below puts the price drop into its proper perspective, clearing up any remaining mystery.

It did push. It was inform here on inside EVs

They got rid of it. It’s all over Rich Rebuilds

The website https://ev-cpo.com/hunter/ shows 4 year CPO vehicles are available. Is this incorrect information?

yes. the number of CPO Model s is currently at 1100+. A month ago it was around 1500. At least half of these cars have 4 yr/50K miles warranties.

If you have an out of warranty Tesla, you pray nothing major breaks or else you’re looking at a $$$$$$ fix. A malfunctioning center display can cost thousands to get replaced

No CPO

My 19″ run flat sport tires on my 535i cost about $450 each. $1800 for a full set. Someone buying a $35k-$40k car may only be able to afford a max $35k-$40k car. Things like tires may not factor in when pricing out a vehicle. Sport tires may only be rated at 20k miles or so, so one could expect to change them at around 2 full years of driving. Add that EVs weigh more (600-900 lbs) than ICEs and grip / accelerate harder, you’re looking at faster tire wear.

I’ve got a 2012 S with ~150k miles. No, No and No…

Similar situ. We have a 2013 with 220,000 on the dial. Inexpensive to run IMO.

Pics

A year ago, if I had $50k budget and I wanted a Tesla, my only option was to go to the used market and buy a second-hand Model S.

Today, with the same budget, I can get a brand new Model 3 for that money.

It’s a no-brainer, surely? Of course the resale price for used Model S will go down. It will stabilise at a slightly lower price than it was previously, but it will likely continue to be good at holding its value compared with the rest of the market.

Yes, it is common sense, as more competing models become available, the resale values will drop. Particularly when it is a fast moving technology and newer models are better. I think Tesla should redesign the battery pack for Model S/X using newer cells and offer 400 mile range for these models. It is not going to be easy (the pack height has to increase), but it will be a solid upgrade. People get tired of gimmicks like 0-60 etc, but a range increase is a good differentiation.

Except it might make no real world difference. I have an S85. I bought a 3 LR. I thought trips would be faster but on long trips I still ended up stopping to eat or use the restroom just as much, so how much time the car spend charging when I wasn’t in it wasn’t relevant and didn’t save me time.

I’m better off using the S for long trips since it has a better ride.

Depends where you are. If you are in California, for example, short range will work. If you are in a cold mountainous region with few superchargers, it makes a big difference.

Offer LED Matrix like headlights, a bit more luxury inside it, and more modern rear lights too. A more advanced AC system with better option for people inside to have different settings.
Fast and quiet is not luxury in it self.

“I think Tesla should redesign the battery pack for Model S/X using newer cells… It is not going to be easy (the pack height has to increase)…”

Certainly Tesla should, and sooner or later will, switch the MS & MX over to using cheaper 2170 cells. But I’ve seen it claimed there is enough “head room” inside the existing packs to insert the taller 2170 cells. At worst, they’re only 1/5 of an inch taller, so it’s not like it would require a major redesign of the suspension system to raise the floor that much.

They don’t need to raise the floor at all. Elon claimed early on that they can fit the cells in the same space. Indeed just moving contacts to one side, as the Model 3 battery does, should pretty much make up for the 5 mm difference…

Get rid of S and make another SUV with the Y

You still get a better car for the money with the Model S unless you absolutely want the latest version of Autopilot. But for practical purposes, such as relieving the stress of long distance driving or stop and go traffic, Autopilot 1 does just fine.

It’s subjective, but I disagree.

Even if the price were the same I’d rather have a Model 3 because it’s more fun to drive, much easier to park in more places (such as a garage–S is EXTREMELY wide!), rear seat headroom is better, and it and has a more open feeling greenhouse.

I like the looks of pre-facelift Model S the most so I hope the prices come down further.

Plus as a hatchback with the rear seats folded you can lie down in the back. Good for saving on motels.

Don’t forget FREE SUPERCHARGING

Model 3 works for that, too. Might feel a bit more awkward without the lift gate — but the room is sufficient.

The drop in tax credits should actually be a positive factor for resale value, because if a buyer is considering new or used Model S, the new option is now more expensive, which takes away some downward pressure from the price of the used vehicle.

True, plus the removal of the 75D Model S means “It’s used, or ~$100k”, to get into one. I prefer anything helping keep my eyes on the road. So, steering wheel stalks and a driver display are nice features. So is having a ton more power, the great hatchback space and stately ride.

My argument for Model 3 would be its materially better efficiency, or maneuverability, but I don’t think Tesla has yet improved its best body design.

Another MS ‘Depreciator’: People are terrified of out-of-warranty Teslas. Now that 4 years are up on an increasing number of them, the Model S is falling into hands that want to be compensated for the risk. Really, just the MCU is the big variable, with battery and drive-units 10yr (CARB states) and lifetime warrantied.

“People are terrified of out-of-warranty Teslas.”

🙄 Or maybe that’s just you.But if you really think they are that scary, then there’s your costume for Halloween this year. 😉

Door handles alone would scare me off an out-of-warranty Model S, LOL.

Hah, it would be interesting if Tesla actually removed the lower range S’s from their lineup to help move their building supply of S lease turn-ins.

Great! time to buy them since they have lifetime free SC.

Tesla is not neglecting anything….. Model S without full self driving would likely get hit the most. Once base model 3 comes out and competition others EVs, their price will only fall. Why drag Tesla in that.

If only one could upgrade the Model S battery from 60 or 85 to 100kWh…
Would increase resale price if you could upgrade the battery.

It should be no problem physically but I assume Tesla doesn’t offer this service?

They have/do for the Roadster. Maybe one day they will for Model S.

Yes, but not every Tesla sales concierge will give you a yes response.

You probably can. Just tell Tesla you’re interested in upgrading the battery of your car, hand them around $30,000, and they’ll upgrade your battery for you. Of course, even if doing so would increase the car’s resale price, the increase would be far less than you paid for the battery upgrade.

It looks like the Model 3 is putting a little downward pressure on the demand side in the used market for the Model S. It was bound to happen, as the preowned Model S supply starts to sit more than 60+ days, while getting somewhat upstaged by the New Model 3 Wow factor, and just being the latest and greatest.

Well, some people just want a Tesla, so between an used Model S and a new Model 3, people will choose the one with more warranty and new.

and better range, the cheaper S have 40k plus miles and likely some degradation none of the ads I see show number of miles when fully charged

Bad news for sellers, incredibly great news for buyers!

When I was shopping for my latest EV in fall 2018, I compared a Model S to the 3 (among others). The cheapest CPO I could get in Canada was a 2015 70D for a bit over $70k CDN. That’s a few thousand more than a Model 3 AWD LR, and because it is used, doesn’t qualify for the $5k point-of-sale rebate in BC, so by the time it was said and done including taxes (15% over $57k in BC), that difference was more like $10k. While I would have liked the slightly bigger cargo space (and liftback configuration), I ended up liking everything else about the 3 better! Now think about the range difference between a 70D and a long-range 3… no brainer. I went with the 3 (and actually dispensed with the AWD too) and saved myself about $20k!

I think used S prices are set to plummet, particularly of shorter range variants.

A silver lining, the price drop is not affecting Tesla itself.

Also, isn’t it a bit premature to call it?

There are far more used Model S available than any other used Tesla models. So, as some demand shifts to entry Model 3 just because it is Tesla name, the used Model S will drop a bit in resale. it is simple supply/demand.

Wrong-
Still looking the same should STABILIZE the prozes for used cars.
The problem for used S prices are the available Model 3 versions.
The X is not affected yet, of course.
2020 and model Y might change that.

I completely agree. Tesla’s refusal to go along with the industry standard of making meaningless style changes every year is one of the reasons that Tesla cars hold their value so well. The same think happened with the classic Volkswagen Beetle, which likewise eschewed style changes just for the sake of change, and the resale value on used Beetles was relatively high.

Bestest car ever. Frack you GM and BM crap.

Here in CA they changed the HOV sticker laws so that older EVs like my wife’s 2014 model S no longer had access. We sold the S and bought a new model 3 in December to be able to get new stickers. I noticed prices/value of hers dropped pretty dramatically over 1-2 months. A month prior to selling Telsa was offering 35k for trade in (high miles) and then in December it was down to 29k. If I had to guess that’s because a lot of people where doing similar to us before stickers expired and full Fed. tax credit was halved. I’m betting prices stabilize…just my two cents…

Why would CA penalize any BEV by taking away thier HOV access?!? I like the fact that that results in more BEV’s on the market as people like yourselves get a new BEV an sell the still very usable old one but shouldn’t they want people to stay in certain cars as long as possible what with the environmental cost of new car production.

Too many cars in HOV lane so they are not meeting their speed numbers.

Time for an update of Model S. Rather than dreaming pipe dreams of a Tesla Semi of Roadster, Tesla should deliver a complete update of the S, with new styling and battery packs of the model 3. That’s what their customers want, that’s how they can finance any future endeavors

A thousand times this. The model S is old. Its design language is old, its feature set is old, and any used S’s batteries are old. There are about five serious competitors coming on-line in less than 18 months – if Tesla doesn’t update its core products, it’s going to drown. It needs a real $35k car, a midrange model (which is what the 3 really is), and a flagship, and it needs to keep them current. If they think the, “but muh OTA – it’s a new car every update!” is going to work against Taycans and Audis and MBs and BMWs and (yes, even) Cadillacs, they’re delusional. The industry standard is a refresh every five years and a total redesign every ten or so; forget vapor like semis and pickups (pickups!? Do they not realize how tribal pickup owners are?), and protect your market.

I agree with this except the pickup comment. Plenty of people will look at a Tesla pickup. Give pickup owners more credit.

Nope, not going to give them more credit; there are tens of thousands of families that are generationally wedded to either Chevy or Ford, and are every bit as brand loyal as a typical Tesla fanboi (well, ok, they might not have posters of Henry Ford II on their walls, but still). They will buy a BEV pickup from one of the legacy manufactures as long as it’s got “their” brand’s name on it, which should be possibly in the next three-five years.

There is very little area in the Venn diagram of Tesla owners and pickup truck buyers.

It’s 7 years for next gen

Yup. I have no doubt that a major refresh of the Model S (and eventually also the Model X) is in the works. It’s a question of when, not if. And my personal speculation is that it’s coming pretty soon, like within a month or two.

LOL – a MONTH? Based on what information? Citation needed, lol

Model S CPO/used prices went through the same cycle when the TM3 was headed to market as the original Roadster CPO’s went through when the MS first headed to market.

The best price for Roadster CPO’s was 6 months before the MS went into production. Then CPO prices started going up as the MS neared first deliveries and stayed up until Tesla stopped offering CPO Roadsters. This is because demand for the MS drove people to buy CPO Roadsters (huge demand bump).

The MS CPO’s went through the same sales bump starting 6 months before the TM3 came out. The CPO prices in Dec 2016/Jan 2017 were the cheapest prices for what you got until now. The rest 17/18 saw higher CPO/used MS prices as websites like this ran stories about buying used instead of waiting for a TM3.

Now the prices are starting to normalize a bit. This is likely a fairly short term event, before the Model Y release repeats this same process all over again, and used Model S/X/3 prices will get more firm as the Model Y approaches production.

Thank you, Nix for — yet again — giving us some scope and perspective on the subject. IEVs should give you a “Most Valuable Player” — er, make that “Most Valuable Post-er” — award! 🙂

LOL – using your other account to praise yourself.

With the new software UI version 9 model S and X got downgraded. The only value is model 3 now.

Yea right. Model X hold their prices just fine, go try to buy one and you wont pay anything less than 65K

Best not to forget that the Carpool Sticker laws changed in California, and for the first time ever as of January 1st 2019 older Teslas (2016 and older) are ineligible. This is having a HUGE impact on resale value of all older EVs in CA.

What the hey? Why would California eliminate one of the benefits of owning a BEV just because it’s older?

Makes no sense at all to me. A used Tesla car replacing a gasmobile emits no more emissions than a brand new Tesla replacing a gasmobile.

The stated reason is that they want to get used EVs into the resale market so that lower income buyers can afford them. The best way they found to do this was to make the Clean Air Vehicle stickers a moving 3 year window. That forces lots of turnover and thus lots of used EVs the marketplace. It’s called Social Engineering.

Bring ’em up to Oregon!

You just gotta dont mess with the P100D owner like me.

I think it is still too expensive because for that price one can buy a new Model 3 with full warranty and better range from a brand spanking new fresh as mint battery pack.

I also noticed this. I keep a eye on craigslist and local listings. You can now find p85’s with about 100k from dealers and private party. Just recently a s90 (replaced pack) with 180k is selling for 23k. Hopefully, they will drop to sub 20k soon. Autopilot 2.0 cars command a high premium and autopilot 1.0 cars can be found for about 35k.

We just purchased a later 2014 S85 with AP1 for about $40k with about 40k miles from Tesla. We considered a new model 3 but the hatch on the S is much more versatile for our activities. The amount of cargo space and range are tough to beat. With the Supercharger network it is a better value than any non-tesla 200+ mile range new vehicle because you don’t need a backup gas powered vehicle for longer trips.

I called it! All the pre-2017 Teslas in California losing their HOV lane privilege are flooding the market while these people go out and buy a new Model 3 or updated Model S. The trick Californians should do is buy a used out of state Model S and bring it back to California and they can get new Lavender HOV lane stickers good until Jan 1, 2023

But why would CA penalize any BEV by taking away HOV access?!

Too many cars in HOV lane so they are not meeting their speed numbers.

Cheapest Tesla on Autotrader is a 2013 Model S 60 for $26,500

All used cars decrease in value over time. This data is meaningless. A more valid comparison would be the Tesla Model S depreciation vs. Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, etc.

Truth. Luxury autos in general have horrific depreciation as repairs become prohibitively expensive once out of warranty. No reason to think Tesla will be too terribly different on this. Perhaps the electric motor, single speed transmission, and battery are more reliable than the powertrain of an ICE, but Tesla Model S is still loaded with technological doo-dads that will be extremely expensive to repair: like the auto-presenting door handles.

I think the main problem is that a new model 3 offers most of what a 2nd hand model S offers, or even more, for the same price. The only main advantage is free supercharging. As, both performance wise and autonomous/hi-tech wise there is not much to differentiate the two models, the only area left to distinguish the two models lays in the level of comfort and luxury they will provide

The issue Tesla will face with the M3 is the figures they’re talking about building place it in commodity car volumes. In time I see them competing with themselves in the used market. Will they keep up with furthering the new cars to keep them distinct from the used ones, or will they become Corollas?

I’ve been watching autotrader’s Model S used car count every week or two for about a month now. (US only). Checking each year individually to see how many cars are available, the numbers stay pretty consistent for each year, as do the total number of Model S’ for sale. It’s been stagnating at ~1400 cars for all years combined. Sure, cars are sold and new cars are added, so it’s impossible to know just how many cars are being moved. It’s also the winter season when used car sales are probably pretty low. Still though, all of this hype about the S’s resale being superior to the competition has a lot of factors to it. One reason being that there have been so few available. Now that leases are ending for years with higher sales, the stock of used S’s is climbing quick. If there are only 1400 available, prices will be higher compared to there being 5000 available. Then of course, with the S having been one of the only performance long range EV sedans out there, if a person wanted an EV, then this was their only reasonable option. Now that new EVs are hitting the market, we’ll… Read more »

You can find actual real time data here: https://onlyusedtesla.com/