Elon Musk can now add used car salesman to his impressive resume because Tesla Motors is now in the business of selling used cars. The new program rolled at the end of April and it offers a lower point of entry for those in the market for a Tesla. The question is, will those in the market for a Tesla be the type to buy used rather than new?
Everyone knows that buying a new car isn’t the best value. The second your tires roll off the lot your car is worth pennies on the dollar, or that’s the going premise, so it makes some financial sense to go with a used car. The thing is, there’s something about buying a bright, new, and shiny automobile that make you feel good.
Everything is perfect. There’s not a single scratch on the interior. The leather is completely unmarred. It has the ubiquitous new car smell that we all suspect may be a combination of chemicals that will lead to our early deaths. Still, driving off the lot in a new car is a great feeling.
Affording that new car is another matter, which is only part of why Tesla has gotten into the used car business. They’re reselling their Model S sedan for less than the cost of new models which makes it easier to afford, but it’s not all out of the kindness of their electric hearts.
Many Tesla owners traded up their older sedans to get the new all-wheel drive models and this means Tesla is sitting on some perfectly good used cars. Starting an official sales program for those cars is a logical next step.
Right now, the program is only available in 11 US cities. The cars are inspected to make sure they’re up to snuff and come with a 4-year/50K mile warranty to provide some assurance to used car buyers. What it doesn’t provide is the cachet that accompanies a brand new Tesla.
The cool factor of owning a Tesla isn’t quite the same when it’s used and an older model. The average person who sees you on the street doesn’t know you bought a used car, but in conversations with those who will inevitably ask, the fact that your car isn’t the latest and greatest is a downer.
A large part of owning a Tesla is about having the latest and greatest electric out there, so who’s going to want to shell out big bucks for an old one?