SANTA MONICA, California — Tesla Motors is poised to expand its reach beyond its traditional base of wealthy, trend-setting customers with the help of the used-car market, according to a new Edmunds.com analysis.
The analysis examined registration data of all 1,600-plus Tesla Model S electric cars that have ever been sold in the U.S. pre-owned market.
A key finding: While only 25 percent of new Model S buyers earned less than $100,000 a year, that number rises to 36 percent of all used Model S buyers.
Used Model S buyers also skew younger than new Model S buyers. About 10 percent of pre-owned Model S buyers are millennials, age 18-34, compared to just 6 percent of all new Model S buyers.
"The used Model S data proves that with a more attainable price tag, there is demand for the vehicle from a more diverse customer set," said Edmunds.com Director of Industry Analysis Jessica Caldwell. "A wide-range buyer base is essential for a brand like Tesla that hopes to grow with mainstream shoppers.
"These findings offer encouragement for Tesla as it prepares to make its biggest move into the mass market with the upcoming Model 3."
Tesla's growing stature in the used market is also reflected on a geographic level.
States that are seeing a surge in sales of the used Model S include Washington, Florida, Texas, New Jersey and Arizona.
Edmunds' research found that in 2015, there have been more used Model S registrations in Seattle than in Tesla's home market of San Francisco.
"It's clear that the concentration of demand for Tesla is spreading beyond California's borders to other states on the secondary market," said Caldwell. "While it's not uncommon to see used luxury vehicles travel out of large flagship hubs, it is unusual to see it happen to this high of a degree."
Tesla is also appealing to value-minded shoppers, Musk said in a media conference call in mid-July.
The electric start-up will offer a single-motor version of the 70 kWh Model S for $5,000 less than the dual-motor version. That version will cost $70,000, but Musk said buyers can expect to pay about $50,000, factoring in incentives and gas savings.
Pricing does not include the $1,170 destination charge.
Edmunds says: The used-car market is giving a new generation of car shoppers the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the coveted Tesla Model S.