CarMax Offer - 2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

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2013 Tesla Model S: CarMax Offer

June 6, 2014

2013 Tesla Model S

We thought we would bide our time while waiting for the debut of the Tesla Model X by keeping our long-term 2013 Tesla Model S a while longer. But we have pretty much covered all the bases on this car and quite frankly, we're getting that itch to buy something new. We were pretty sure that selling this car would replenish our coffers. But we weren't exactly sure how much we'd get. No one had any pricing data on the car.

This isn't the first time this has happened. Our long-term Chevrolet Volt and Fiat 500 were in the same uncharted waters back when we sold them. Would we get top dollar for our Model S? Take a wild guess before you hit the jump.

"Hold on sir," said the greeter at CarMax. "I'm checking with my manager to see if we can appraise this car."

This was the first time I've heard this at CarMax, but my worry was short lived. The manager came over quickly and said they could appraise it, but it would take twice as long (about an hour) since they had to do "a lot of research."

During the appraisal, I learned that CarMax wasn't going to resell the Model S on its lot. "Our insurance company won't let us sell this car until there are more out there," said the appraiser. My guess is that CarMax needs to work out the details of servicing the vehicle and offering an extended warranty. Instead, CarMax would list the Model S for sale at its own auction.

Roughly an hour later, I had an offer in hand. CarMax offered us $79,000. For reference, back in February 2013, we paid $103,770 (I'm discounting the $1,235 we paid for the wall charger, since it wasn't part of the vehicle). This is about a 24-percent depreciation, and slightly over with our fleet average of 22 percent.

We're still debating whether to take the offer, sell it private party. Or we may keep the Model S a while longer.

What would you do? Take the CarMax offer or sell it on your own?

Ronald Montoya, Consumer Advice Editor @ 22,473 miles


  • jeepsrt jeepsrt Posts:

    Sell it on your own, why let CarMax get the profit.

  • kirkhilles1 kirkhilles1 Posts:

    Noooo.... don't sell it. Keep it. We need more long term data. The Model S is a unique car and is well worth the cost to keep it. Its not like its some new Altima or Accord.

  • rock2155 rock2155 Posts:

    I'd like to see how it holds up for longer but if you need to sell it, maybe try to sell it on your own before taking the first offer... Negotiate... Maybe keep it and trade it in for the Model X !

  • skibird skibird Posts:

    Does that take into account the $10k in tax credits?

  • cjasis cjasis Posts:

    Please keep this in the fleet. The problems you've had, Tesla's support and real life experiences are extremely helpful to me (and I suppose others) who are contemplating taking the plunge.

  • gslippy gslippy Posts:

    That's a good offer, but you should keep the car longer. More data is needed.

  • bankerdanny bankerdanny Posts:

    Holding on to it for a while longer does have some appeal. You guys have encountered some major problems with this car. They have been promptly dealt with by Tesla at no cost, but they are significant none the less. I would be interested in how the car holds up for another 10k miles. If you opt to get rid of it, I would go private party. A question for you though: will you disclose that the drive unit has been replaced twice already and did you tell CarMax? I know this is well documented here, but not all potential buyers will opt to read about it.

  • miata52 miata52 Posts:

    Keep it...

  • greenpony greenpony Posts:

    Seems like a fair offer. Sell it, private party it, keep it... doesn't matter to me.

  • Keep in mind that if you bought a similarly spec'd Model S today, it'd cost around $120k (not including incentives). I'd guess that you could probably sell this for around $90k on the open market. So, is getting an extra 10% worth the hassle of selling it privately?

  • ddowhy ddowhy Posts:

    keep it!!!!!!! why would you want to sell the world's best car?

  • "This is about a 23-percent depreciation, and right in line with our fleet average of 22 percent." --- pretty impressive considering they are going to wholesale it rather than retail it.

  • ahightower ahightower Posts:

    You haven't even tried to drive it to New York or Alaska yet! This is a 2-year test for sure.

  • bassracerx bassracerx Posts:

    you have a week (unless this apreaisal was done monday and you guys are just now getting around to posting this) i would list it on Ebay with a 79k starting bid and a 90k buy it now and see what happens while you guys think on it. I would also try taking it to a regular car dealership that also sells electric cars like a Mercedes dealer just for s and g's

  • arondaniel arondaniel Posts:

    As ski bird pointed out, 23% depreciation of 102,600 to 79k does NOT factor in your 7,500 federal tax credit, right? It is unclear if anyone at Edmunds claimed the credit but a personal buyer sure will. Therefore his/her effective depreciation is closer to 15.6%

  • mchen4 mchen4 Posts:

    Keep it please!! Reading the long term Tesla reviews are 40% of the reason I come to this site. It is wealth of useful info- how can you be tired of this car already?

  • throwback throwback Posts:

    Sell it privately. You'll definitely do better. There are some Tesla fanatics out there.

  • rmg22 rmg22 Posts:


  • darthbimmer darthbimmer Posts:

    You're "getting that itch to buy something new"? Are you sure it's not "sweating bullets about dealing with this thing when it's out of warranty"? Or just "getting tired of taking it to the dealer for major warranty repairs"?

  • cwerdna cwerdna Posts:

    Keep it!!! I and probably many others want to see how well it holds up and whether any more major repairs as required, esp. after its warranty ends.

  • I'd take it round the back and shoot it. Wouldn't you feel bad about selling some sucker a LEMON that chews tyres and needs a new drive train every second week?

  • hybris hybris Posts:

    Keep it or go private party just be sure to be honest in saying that this thing has a repeated major work done on it.

  • shepski shepski Posts:

    Let me borrow it for six months and I'll contribute DAILY updates.

  • angioman1 angioman1 Posts:

    Keep it for another year at least. You are entering into uncharted territory having bought this new technology soon after it's introduction. It's the most fascinating long term road test among all the car sites and you would do everyone a great service to validate or invalidate the viability of this particular car for the general public. Why would you sell it now before the question has been answered? Does E.M. want you to sell it so that it will no longer be in the public eye?

  • nicad nicad Posts:

    I agree with Angioman 1 that I think Tesla wants you to sell it and move on. Largest change in car tech in my lifetime and you think it is a good idea to cut the test off after the year and assume people are more interested in knowing how well the new Volvo holds up? Keep the Tesla 5 years and I will keep reading about it.

  • desiccant desiccant Posts:

    $79K is quite fair for trade-in. It will retail for about $85K. I have sold to CARmax and the process is smooth and takes an hour or two. I have sold privately several times and each time has been painful with weeks of no-shows, flakes, you name it. CARmax is the best place to SELL a car, not to BUY a car. Time is money. Grab that offer.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    What I would do and what I want you to do are two different things - I want to see if any other stuff will go wrong with the car. If I were you, I think I would sell it - I believe it has some more tricks up its sleeve that I would not want to find out about.

  • rock2155 rock2155 Posts:

    Frankly that was an early production car, I still want to see more about it and how it holds up. In my case, a Nov 2013 build, I have so far almost 10k miles and had only one issue. My pano roof wasn't closing completely. A ranger came the next day and fixed it at work for free in maybe 30min. Only time I went to service was to install the titanium underbody shield. No drivetrain swap or anything. I am pretty sure most of the issues were related to initial early cars. I think the overall fit & finish is much improved and they ironed most early issues. Even rear my tires are wearing evenly and not at an alarming rate. They fixed the rear camber issue with a better bolt I believe... I have much less issues so far than my former 2011 BMW... Love this car!

  • 3ch0 3ch0 Posts:

    Keep it! This car more than any other you have needs to be run for longer so you can assess things like battery capacity decline and such.

  • 3ch0 3ch0 Posts:

    > @3ch0 said: > Keep it! This car more than any other you have needs to be run for longer so you can assess things like battery capacity decline and such. Also, this is the only thing I read on this site since the death of Inside Line.

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