Home » Used Tesla Prices Are Falling Like A Stone Right Now

Used Tesla Prices Are Falling Like A Stone Right Now

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My friend and I both watch the used car market like a hawk. As amateur hobbyist car flippers, having an idea of what the market is doing is beneficial to us both, even if our cars tend to be high-mile budget rides—not the lot fodder for the probably soon-defunct Carvana headhunter.

But, both of us have noticed, the prices of used Teslas are falling fast. Like, really, really fast. I’ve kept my eye on it, but my friend sent me a link for this used 2019 Tesla Model 3, standard range, RWD, listed at a franchised dealership, for a mere $32,996.

Maybe the absolute insanity of the used car market has thrown us off, but we both agreed, that sounds very low. My guess is this was in the $40,000 range when it was new just a few years ago. That’s almost Maserati-grade depreciation.

True, this Model 3 doesn’t look to be the most desirable; it looks to be a lower-trimmed single-motor Model 3 with the smaller battery pack and aero hubcaps. But, not even six months ago, folks were asking near or close to MSRP even for a few-year-old Tesla Model 3s in similar condition as that listing.

It wasn’t the only cheap model 3, either. A quick search for used Model 3s in a 100-mile radius revealed several options in the $36,000 range, all of the varying specifications. A lower-mile long-range, dual-motor Model 3 could be had for as little as $37,000.  How many stories did the two of us read of folks buying and then selling new Teslas for a profit? This was a big change from the new car pricing for used cars the two of us had become accustomed to over the summer.

(Update: And to further prove my point, here’s a 2020 Model 3 Performance, originally a $62,000 car, now selling for $43,000. With just 25,000 miles on the odometer. Shocking.)

Photo: Wyler Auto

But, like isn’t every used car falling in price as the market rights itself? True, but it feels like Teslas are falling fast. And It’s not just a feeling, either; Tesla owners started noticing around September. Cargurus says that in the last 90 days, the prices of used Teslas have fallen a whopping 15%. By comparison, its index sees an average of not quite 6% price reduction for all brands in the industry.

Reuters and US News also agree: according to data from Edmunds, used prices of Teslas are down 17%. They also sit longer on used car lots, incentivizing used car lots to cut prices to move products or pay less at auction or trade so as to not be stuck with a sales dud. Woof.

Why are the prices of used Teslas dropping so fast? Has Elon Musk’s incessant and unwanted Twitter posturing come home to roost, making the cars undesirable among much of the population? That’s plausible; certainly, some have sold their Teslas or canceled their orders. But lots of people don’t pay attention to Twitter or the unhinged musings of Elon Musk. I’m not convinced that’s the real reason here. 

No, Reuters says the reason may boil down to good, old-fashioned supply and demand: “Now fuel prices are easing, interest rates are rising, Tesla output is increasing, and EV competition is growing, leading used Tesla prices to fall faster than the market, and creating a cascading effect on prices of new Teslas.”

Tesla is offering a big discount for new Model 3s and Model Ys before the year is out, $7,500 in fact. Also, starting on Jan. 1, the Model 3 and Y will once again qualify for tax credits in the new Inflation Reduction Act. (That includes used ones, too, although those have to be under $25,000 to qualify.)

But I’m not sure this is a great deal—yet. Give it time. Remember, the Model 3 and Y are fundamentally old, or at least old-looking vehicles, so getting a new one with the tax breaks—or one of the many other EV options coming out soon from other automakers—may be the way to go until used Teslas hit “bin full of heavily discounted John Wick Blu-Rays at the Walmart” prices. 

As for me, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t eyeing where the prices of a dual-motor long-range Model 3 will end up, because, damn, 0-60 in four seconds is pretty addictive. 

Maybe the rumored Model 3 facelift will tourniquet the used car value bleeding.

Probably not, though.

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52 Responses

  1. I think an expanded market vs poor quality product and that EVs are no longer fresh but great way to burn your house down get stuck in your car needing to ship your car out of state for repairs, cant be sure all the options will continue to work etc. Only the truly ignorant would buy a product with 1 of these issues let alone all of them. Besides wasnt the 3 Elons under $30k EV?

    1. Except that those who know what they’re talking about and who understand quality (Such as Sandy Munro) know that Teslas are not poor quality and they are way ahead of everyone else in more ways than one these days.

      And also those who know what they are talking about also know that ICE vehicles have a much higher rate of fires than BEVs. And knowledgeable people would also know that a lot of those Tesla fires in homes were caused by improperly installed chargers/charging outlets.

      Only the truly ignorant would not know about these things, fail to educate themselves and spread bullshit they pull out of their asses because some guy named Musk said something they don’t like on Twitter.

      1. you are conveniently not attempting a smartass retort about the number of these vehicles having to be towed to other states for repairs. Many of those repairs essentially financially scrapping them. Battery replacement in the $20K range, and Rear/:Large drive unit replacements at $7,500, both before labor to swap.

        Those repairs are starting to become regular things if people want to continue to drive out of warranty Tesla’s. Because of the optics of these high dollar repairs and documented quality issues even by Munro early on, the public has not yet gone Hyundai/Kia on Tesla yet. they might make it, but that is yet to be seen. With Elon’s Kanye like flip publicly, I think that could ultimately hurt Tesla a lot as more and more regular car companies swim into the EV Pool.

    2. Also, don’t forget, the Model 3 is now in it’s 6th model year, under normal product planning cycles, that would mean it was either just replaced or just about to be replaced, while the Model S is now nearly as old as the Dodge Challenger.

      I’m not one for planned obsolescence and changing for the sake of change, but, the fact of the matter is, Teslas aren’t exactly fresh designs anymore, there’s a lot of newer competition out there that’s starting to trickle into the used market, and it’s going to have an effect

  2. 0-60 in 4 seconds is great as long as you want to be in a car with a pretty sparse interior, touch screen controls for nearly *everything*, a reputation for poor fit and finish and poor customer service…

    1. That acceleration is only in theory, most of the Tesla drivers I see take at least 30 seconds to look up from their phones to even notice that the light is now green, then proceed to putter along at 10mph under the limit in the left lane

    2. Still, good news for engine (motor) swaps. Tesla units still seem to be the go-to for EV conversions, so cheap ones can only help bring us more electric powered lunacy like the ECC Land Rover.

  3. “Why are the prices of used Teslas dropping so fast? Has Elon Musk’s incessant and unwanted Twitter posturing come home to roost, making the cars undesirable among much of the population?”

    Well, my mom is in this boat. She loves her Model Y, but when I visited her over Christmas she said she’s seriously considering getting rid of the thing and replacing it with a non-Tesla EV because she feels embarrassed to be associated with Elon, now that he’s gone off the deep end. She had some reservations when she bought it, but at the time there weren’t really many comparable options. Now there are, and Elon is even crazier, and she doesn’t want to be seen in something that people associate with him.

    1. There still aren’t really any options if she wants to drive any sort of longer distance in an EV. In a few years it will be better but outside of the Tesla Supercharger network, charging sucks still.

      1. They still have Dad’s 4Runner, which is a bit thirsty but is otherwise a fantastic all-rounder that can go pretty much anywhere, anytime. She doesn’t need the absolute greatest range.

    2. LOL! This is the biggest load of crappola I have read this month! I call complete BS! And if it is not, then this has to be the biggest ridiculous reason to sell/buy a vehicle that I have ever read.
      And I am certainly not a Tesla fanboy. I don’t own an EV. Cant afford one!

  4. Sadly, a lot of people need to worship a figurehead. Tesla is a one man show and it’s possible that some don’t like what the one man is showing. I won’t pretend that I could afford a new Tesla, but if I were shopping electric I wouldn’t buy from the Mike Lindell of automakers.

    1. Then they should go to their local church, mosque, temple, etc and do their worshiping there.

      People should really stop worshiping company CEOs, sports “heros” and other people like that. It will just lead to disappointment when that person says or does the ‘wrong’ thing.

      Too many people make too much out of material items these days.

      1. The trouble is, there probably is something in the subconscious that compels people to want to worship something, so if they aren’t going to a mosque, temple, church, or synagogue, they just find something else to direct that energy toward, eg, a politician, athlete, movie star, or businessman. What we need to do is get more people to focus on worshipping something completely harmless and inoffensive, like Kellogg’s Special K cereal

  5. I’m always a little wary of seeing listings from repair shops, or in this case a tire shop. What happened here? Previous owner decided they couldn’t afford a tire rotation and just signed it over to the shop to sell? Didn’t pick it up after they got the bill for the alignment? Maybe it was on autopilot and it just drove there and put itself up for sale?

      1. Yeah, you can’t drive ten minutes in the tri-state area without seeing their little “w” on the back of someone’s car. Actually, my fiancee bought his Mazda3 from one of their dealerships a couple years back.

  6. Worst article. The standard range 2019 Model 3 was $35k. If you click the link, the listing is for a standard range plus which cost $37k new. So very little depreciation over four years.

    1. Son, no matter how much you carry water for Elmo, you are still gonna be a poor, dumbfuck of a bagholder.

      The SR Model 3 was never $35k. Not once. The much vaunted “$35k Model 3” never existed, the Cybertruck isn’t happening, and the Roadster isn’t happening. Eat your losses and find halfway intelligent role models.

      1. “The SR Model 3 was never $35k. Not once. The much vaunted “$35k Model 3” never existed”

        Yes it did, but it was not advertised and you had to special order it (and it was just a SR+ with some of its battery capacity and power limited by software). I doubt more than few hundred to couple thousands of them were ever sold.

        The car in the listing in question is SR+ though, but back in 2019 new SR+ cost only slightly more at around $37-38k (depend on when exactly it was bought) and thus was not “$50,000-ish car when it was new just a few years ago”. I don’t really care much for Tesla and Musk is narcissistic dickhead that can go fuck himself, but it doesn’t change the fact that the author of this article is a lazy incompetent boob who could be arsed to the most basic of reasearch (aka. spent few minutes on Google).

    2. But the prices of used Teslas are dropping. Until very recently, it was possible to buy a new Tesla, try it out for a couple months, then sell it at a profit to someone unwilling to wait for their new one.
      Will their depreciation be greater than average? Probably not for a while, at least. But the prices have definitely dropped. Whether they keep dropping is another question, but signs point in that direction.
      To be fair, my 2019 Kia Niro PHEV is facing drops in value as well. It was worth what I paid new about 4 or so months ago, and it has dropped in value by about 10% in the past couple months. This is not just Tesla, but it is more pronounced in Teslas of late.

  7. I cant believe Gates let Musk misrepresent his short position.

    Making money from tesla’s overpriced stock doesn’t affect tesla’s eco credentials one little bit.
    Does it look bad? Slightly.But only to those who cant do deductive reasoning

  8. “standard range, RWD, listed at a franchised dealership, for a mere $32,996.”

    That’s still a high price for a 3 year old vehicle given that was a $40,000 vehicle when new.

    For a regular vehicle in regular times with regular depreciation, a $40,000 vehicle should be more like $20,000 after 3-4 years of use. Or even if you use Tesla’s current Model 3 pricing as the basis, the price for a Model 3 SR+ should be more like $25,000 to $30,000

    But even before Covid, Teslas had resale values that held up as well as Toyotas.

    Good for Tesla, but bad for someone like me who buys used vehicles and wants to buy a Tesla in decent condition for cheap.

    So while used Tesla pricing is coming back to Earth, prices still need to fall more for us to be back to ‘normal’.

    And as a side note: Dealerships would love for us to all believe that bullshit “market value” fees are ‘normal’, but they are not.

    1. Unless, of course, you use that free speech to criticize him, say where an airplane is, or talk about the fact that anybody else is talking about any of that.

  9. Not surprising. Used cars are priced against the prices of new car. Tesla increased prices on the 3 $10k over the last ~1 1/2 years. That is why used cars were selling for more than they had when new. Walking back $7500 of that price increase is going to have a significant impact on the prices of used version. Paying $40k for a car that originally cost $37k didn’t seem so bad when a new one was now $47k. But now that a new one is under $40k again with lots of cars in stock no one is going to pay $37k for a 3 year old version.

    The fact that some people could sell their 2 year old car for as much or more than they paid for it has increased the supply, at exactly the same time demand is dropping thanks to those big discounts on new and increasing interest rates.

    Similar things are happening across the board but it is worse for the Teslas because those other cars didn’t up their list prices, the dealers got the extra profit and that varied from a few places that didn’t tack on an ADP to those that tacked on $5-10-15K or more in ADP.

    I’d say that the prices of new Teslas will continue to drop and once the rebate is good again the prices of used will take another significant hit. If you have a 3 now is the time to sell, sell, sell if you can find anyone that is still buying.

  10. Tesla prices, both the stock and its used cars, shows the flip side of the bubble coin. It’s great on the way up. But sucks on the way down.

    Countless financial experts have opined that the stock price was not substantiated by any of the metrics used for pretty much every other company and industry. It was inflated because it was a bubble, created by a persuasive and charismatic promoter. Unfortunately he is also an arrogant, abrasive narcissist on shaky terms with honesty, facts, and reality (CyberTruck and Roadster anyone? How bout that FSD?). The laws of finance are like physics. They have a funny way of eventually catching up with everyone.

    The company’s stock, and car prices, were both buoyed by adoring zealots. Zombies who worshipped at the altar of Must, and for who Saint Elon could do no wrong. Until he did. As others have said, most Tesla diehards were on the progressive side. Now that the curtain has been pulled back and Elon has exposed himself as an alt-right windbag, his fan base is a little less enamored. He popped his own bubble.

    The same with the stock price. Now that he’s evaporated the aura of magic that used to cloud perceptions of Tesla, people are beginning to think of it for what it is. A company. As in, one that’s supposed to deliver profits and returns to its shareholders. Imagine that. When you start applying time-proven metrics like P/E to Tesla, the stock price shows itself for what it was. A bubble.

    Everything works until it doesn’t. The thing about bubbles is, they’re hard to re-inflate.

    1. In terms of stock prices it isn’t JUST the alt-right windbag part. He’s had to sell Tesla stock to both get the money for his vanity website and keep it afloat. The prospect of random big sell offs is not something that investors like very much.

  11. They had to drop. I was hit at a red light and my model 3 was totaled back in August. I had it for 3 years and put on 45k miles. They paid me out 1000 over what I bought it for new plus taxes and car seats. I ended up buying another new one because I didnt want to get back into the market at that those crazy prices. The 2022 car was more expensive but its better built than the 2019 was. Overall I basically scrubbed 45k miles for a couple thousand bucks and Ill have a 2022 paid off in 2025 instead of a 2019 paid off in 2024.

    The used market in general is going to go down but I think Teslas in particular were so pumped up they have farther to fall. Now lets hope we can get some minivans in stock for my wife. Weve been on lists at 7 dealerships for 6 months now for a Sienna Platinum.

  12. “Maybe the rumored Model 3 facelift will tourniquet the used car value bleeding.

    Probably not, though.”

    Rumored Model 3 facelift? Rumored by who? The same guy who launched the Cybertruck in 2020 and the Roadster 2.0 in 2022? The hangers-on desperate for big daddy Muskovite to pay attention to them? The bagholder who put his life savings into TSLA at $750? Maybe the true blue cultists with the Elmo tattoos on their necks?

    This is a company that couldn’t figure out how to make new batteries so they slapped a new label on the same shit, keeps having to warranty anything that isn’t already subject to an involuntary recall, that has yet to even test the tooling for body panels that can be made to a higher standard with a Harbor Freight brake press, rushed a half-finished term paper called the Semi out the door 30 minutes before class because Bepis was about to nuke their contract, is under more investigations than there are agencies to investigate, being ‘led’ by a micromanager who isn’t even checking emails while making a brain damaged toddler on PCP and pure adrenalin look intelligent and reasonable, with an organization that doesn’t have ‘refreshes’ and ‘updates’ leaked as much as sprayed from a firehose at the evangelistas, and you think they can get two new bumper molds, headlight assemblies, and tail light assemblies out the door in 3 months time, fundamentally altering the look of a car with the ‘I made this’ label slapped on it by said feces-flinging toddler.

    Let. Me. Laugh. Louder.

  13. “but my friend sent me a link for this used 2019 Tesla Model 3, standard range, RWD, listed at a franchised dealership, for a mere $32,996.

    Maybe the absolute insanity of the used car market has thrown us off, but we both agreed, that sounds very low. My guess is this was a $50,000-ish car when it was new just a few years ago. That’s almost Maserati-grade depreciation.”

    No, in 2019 SR+ Model 3 cost around (it depend a when exactly you bought it) $37-38k new. If this actual direct-order SR it was $35k new. Do some basic research be for writing article ffs.

  14. Putting aside the fact that Elon is an a$$hat, I do appreciate what Tesla has done for the EV market. They’ve brought EVs into the mainstream much faster than would have happened without them, I think. But I’ve never understood the attraction to their cars. I rented a Model S (their flagship) for a week and I wasn’t at all impressed. The seats were uncomfortable, the interior was spartan, even compared to the 1996 Mercedes E300 I used to own, and I can do without software-generated fart noises, thank you very much. There was nothing that the Model S did that the 1/3-the-price Kona EV I rented a couple months before didn’t do as well or better. I’ve also ridden in a friend’s Model 3 and I was even less impressed. So, yeah, I guess I’m not too surprised to hear that their value is dropping. I was never going to buy one and that won’t change no matter how cheap they get on the used market.

    1. Arguably, Tesla selling carbon offset credits to other vehicle makers also slowed others to market. There are a lot of factors at play, and legacy automakers certainly weren’t quick to get in the game, but I’m not so sure Tesla pushed electric car adoption as much as they were positioned to best take advantage of a market driven by ecological concerns and tech adoption. Not unlike Toyota positioning themselves to make the Prius THE hybrid for a long time.
      I don’t want to discount Tesla’s impact, because creating the charging network was very important in convincing folks to go electric, but that is also what drives a significant portion of the market to Tesla over competitors, and that doesn’t drive EV adoption as much as a robust network available to all cars would.

      1. Fair points. It’s difficult to parse the influences of the charging network itself and the “cool” factor that Tesla brought to the EV-sphere. Due mostly to Eberhard and Tarpenning’s original Roadster design, I think it’s undeniable that Tesla turned the idea of an EV from that of a mere eccentric-owned planet-saving device to a planet-saving device for the cool (and rich) kids. And, in the dearth of an existing charging standard, developing the Tesla Supercharger and the associated network was a genius move that helped mitigate range anxiety and further pushed adoption of Tesla EVs, specifically. But the effect overall was to make EVs in general a viable alternative to gasoline cars rather than something your weird hippie neighbor was developing in his garage. I’m not sure the automotive big boys would have committed to developing EVs of their own as quickly as they did without the public enthusiasm generated by Tesla.

    2. ” There was nothing that the Model S did that the 1/3-the-price Kona EV I rented a couple months before didn’t do as well or better.”

      Clearly the one thing you didn’t do is push the throttle to the floor… or go on a longer distance trip where reliable fast charging would be needed.

  15. THERE’S that 35k Tesla! FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!! 😀

    Actually, Elon’s antics could still have something to do with it. They are known for treating their customers poorly, and now that there is competition from real car companies run by adults, why stick with Tesla?

  16. I think you underestimate the “avoid the douchebag” factor of Elon’s recent spectacles. He’s a Libertarian slanted Republican right winger selling to environmentalists who lean strongly liberal. As long as he kept his mouth shut and made strides where no one else was making strides, people held their noses and pulled out the checkbooks.

    Take 10% of the buyers out of ANY market anywhere in the world and prices will fall like a stone until they find a new equilibrium.

    I know I’m no longer considering a Tesla because of Elon’s antics. I know of several others who have stopped looking for one. And speaking to the only family I know with two Teslas, I’ve found that they’re very likely to go with another brand at replacement time. I’m not saying there’s a huge crowd of us, but there are more than a few, and that’s easily enough to tip an otherwise balanced scale in one direction.

    1. I don’t use (and never have used) the likes of facebook, paypal, or uber for similar reasons of not having any interest in funding shitheads. At least I get the pleasure of screaming into the wind while no one is listening.

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