Trade Ins

Trade Ins

I thought about posting this in the FAQ post but really wanted to hear what other customers think about this situation as well as Tesla.

I placed an order for a Model S early this year when I went into the showroom and had a good look at the lower assembly. My background really let me appreciate the simplicity and elegance of the approach taken on the Model S. When I placed the order, I had two questions that the representative assured me she would get answered. They were "Is the battery warranty pro-rated or outright?" and "Can the dealership handle a courtesy trade if I bring the buyer for my car with me when I close?".

I eventually got an answer on the battery warranty and believe it to be an outright warranty. If it breaks in eight years, Tesla will make it right allowing for normal wear and tear of course. If anyone has heard different please let me know.

Getting an answer on the second question was like pulling teeth. I finally called the representative today and said I finalized my order and really need a response. His response was no with some wording about being a limited dealer. I suspect this has something to do with the "retail outlet" and franchise issues the company is facing. I then asked if I could bring a dealer buddy with me and have Tesla provide him with the MSO and then he could do the paperwork for the courtesy trade. I was told Tesla had to deliver the car to me.

My Model S is going to bump a MY10 535i so we are not talking a ton of cash here for the trade in sales tax credit. At the same time, I'm not one to flush $2,000 for no good reason.

Tesla, what is the story behind being unwilling to perform a courtesy trade for your customers? Your stores will literally not even see the trade and it will be delivered with Florida's standard no warranty of any sort type language. You must hold a Florida Dealer's License to retail cars in the state so you already have standing to perform the transaction.

Anyone else running into this issue in Florida or any other state?


On a personal note, our judiciary needs to step up to the plate here. Franchise protection was designed to protect franchisees from unfair competition from factory owned stores. There are no Tesla franchises thus no one has standing to bring an action. The idea that BMW or any other make is trying to use these laws to stifle innovation and competition is ludicrous and our judiciary should point this out as they summarily dismiss the actions. Just my 2 cents worth.

cstull | 20. November 2012

Even if Tesla could take your car in trade doesn't mean it would make sense to do so. I am in Arizona and they finally admitted that they could not take a trade because they are not a licensed dealer in AZ.

Turns out even in the states that they do take trades, they use AutoNation to do the transaction and they low ball the deal.

So I went to Carmax and had a great experience. They did an appraisal in less than 30 minutes and gave me an offer that was good for 7 days. Their offer was $7-9k more than I expected so I took the deal and they wrote me a check. Total time on site was less than an hour.

lolachampcar | 21. November 2012

A courtesy trade is one where the new car buyer brings his/her buyer for the "trade in" to the closing. The new car dealer takes the title for the used car and hands it to the new owner. It is a paperwork transaction. Tesla never sees the car but the Model S buyer gets the sales tax credit for the trade in.

If Tesla will not do this for thier customers then they need to at least "deliver" the car to a local dealer (no, not a NADA member, just a used car guy) and let me complete the transaction with him/her. The term "deliver" means make the MSO out to the dealer who then transfers it to my name.

I wrote this post to see if Tesla would respond. I am surprised that no one else seems to be taking issue with this. cstull, you lost your local sales tax on the Carmax deal. Depending on the car, that can be a more than just a few bucks. | 21. November 2012

For the last 2 car purchases (different dealerships) I turned down the lowball trade in offer from the dealer, sold it myself, & made more money in the process (even with missing the sales tax credit).

lolachampcar | 21. November 2012

yes..... and this is why I bring my own buyer for my previous car with me for the courtesy trade. I get retail for the car AND the 6% or I can give my retail buyer a piece of that 6% and we are both happy (as I am still getting above wholesale). | 21. November 2012

You are way ahead of me-- I actually never considered that as an option.

Captain_Zap | 21. November 2012

Fortunately, where I live there is no sales tax on Electric Vehicles. So that is not an issue for me.

I haven't bothered with "courtesy" trade-ins in the past because I knew that, with very little effort, I could get what my car was really worth and it would make up the difference with regard to taxes and then some more.

lolachampcar | 21. November 2012

I'm jelous... Florida charges sales tax on EVERYTHING. On the flip side, we have no personal income tax.

DouglasR | 21. November 2012

If I understand you correctly, having TM sell the Model S to a used car dealer for transfer to you may cause you to lose the $7500 federal tax credit. For you to qualify for the credit, the original use of the vehicle must commence with you, the taxpayer. I believe that means that the MSO must be made out to you.

lolachampcar | 21. November 2012

good point.... Tesla will need to do the transaction.
For Tesla to deliver a car to me in Florida, they must have a dealer's license which means they can take assignment of my used car title and assign it to my buyer. I just need to convince them they want to. Like most dealers, I assume they will use a service for the tag and title work so there will probably be a second charge for the second tile.