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When did Tesla change their model year policy?

When did Tesla change their model year policy?

Seems like I always thought Tesla didn’t have model years, just the year the car was built. So a 2017 Model S doesn’t refer to any particular body style or capabilities, just the fact it was built in 2017.

Tonight I’m looking at the Tesla site at their new inventory cars, and they all say they are 2020 models.

Was I sleeping when they changed this? Does anyone know when a car becomes the next model year?

rob | 22. desember 2019

I was disappointed too. I liked the calendar year. I'm guessing it has something to do with getting the VINs.

akikiki | 22. desember 2019

They were doing this at least in Oct, maybe even before then. I was scolded on the TMC forum for trying to help someone figure out his year by looking at the VIN, when I commented Tesla follows calendar year convention.

Bighorn | 22. desember 2019

Probably just a demand lever for year end purchases since people are less likely to buy in December when they receive the last models of the year because of depreciation.

Tldickerson | 22. desember 2019

That's a real good reason!

EVRider | 23. desember 2019

I think this is the first year Tesla started changing the model year before mid-December. The model year is still insignificant.

Doublelift | 23. desember 2019

Bighorn is probably right, that’s why normal car makers have had 2020 models for months. A recognition on how easy it is to manipulate consumers. Tesla used to be better than that, especially since the build year doesn’t matter anyway. Just like Elon once said we don’t sell “used” cars; now that’s what they call them on the site. Looks like two more distinctions that made Tesla a cut above have gone. Oh well, still the best brand out there by far.

TeslaTap.com | 23. desember 2019

Also consider cars going to Asia and Europe take 6-10 weeks to arrive. My guess is they started using 2020 several months ago so when those cars arrive in January, they are 2020 "models". Once they make the switch, I expect all cars are switched to the new model year.

Tesla still does not make any hardware or functional differences between model years like other automakers.

Bighorn | 23. desember 2019

I have not seen Tesla use it to their advantage as a marketing gimmick. Very few people are even aware of the MY timing change. It helps reward the folks who take year-end deliveries, especially now with the cessation of tax credits. It may take some people off the purchase fence and it's really no harm, no foul to most. And it's a potentially big boost to investors if it gooses the delivery figure by a few thousand.

Tropopause | 23. desember 2019

Tesla is growing up. Not just a local company anymore but rather a global brand, like TeslaTap is stating.

Bighorn | 23. desember 2019

@Tropo
I thought the same thing when they opened 19 new superchargers in Canada on a single day.

p.c.mcavoy | 23. desember 2019

@EVRider - Some will still view model year as significant. Insurance pricing, vehicle registration/plates in some states, and trade-in value all can be influenced by the model year indicated by the VIN.

For those that do not trade cars frequently, own them say 8-12 years, the influence on trade-in/Kelly Bluebook value likely means nothing. For those that like to trade vehicles every 2-3 years it can be significant. For example, I just ran a KBB comparison of a 2016 vs 2017 MS P100D, each with 50k miles. Difference in the Blue Book very good condition is $7,000. That could be a big deal to someone if their car suddenly was totaled of they wanted to trade to a different/new model.

p.c.mcavoy | 23. desember 2019

Timing of when traditional automakers have done model-year changes was driven by annual plan shutdown schedules for tooling changes. Most times this was aligned to be over the summer, although in the case of totally new models where possibly being produced in a new plant, the timing has deviated from this.

I’ve summarized several times her the US rules around vehicle certification and how this relates to the labeling of model year for a vehicle. In brief, an automaker could introduce a 2021 model year vehicle as early as mid-January 2020, with that model year running essentially majority of two years through end of 2021. It’s not been that common that manufacturers have done this, but were some cases say with Toyota and Honda with new minivan platforms back around the 2009-2010 era where they introduced the new model years in the spring of the prior calendar year. Advantage of that for them is they avoid the certification cost of one model year.

For example you introduce a new model in May 2019 with no intention of changing it until mid 2020. If you certify it as a MY2019 at introduction, then at year end you must re-certify it as a MY2020 vehicle, and then again as a MY2021 when you make changes in mid-year 2020. Even if a manufacturer makes no intended changes, the certification process must be repeated for each model year. By certifying at time of introduction as a MY2020, you skip ever having certified as a MY2019 with the associated costs.

EVRider | 23. desember 2019

@p.c.mcavoy: You said "Some will still view model year as significant. Insurance pricing, vehicle registration/plates in some states, and trade-in value all can be influenced by the model year indicated by the VIN."

You're correct, but I meant the model year is insignificant with respect to the actual vehicle configuration. For example, when Tesla started using 2020 for the model year, the car didn't change. On the other hand, a 2019 Raven is significantly different from a 2019 pre-Raven.