I could not justify keeping two high priced electric cars and sold the Roadster. I am going to share a few thoughts about my impression of the process and the different ways to sell the car. My thoughts are all completely subjective but might be useful for someone else in the same process.
First, there are three main ways to sell the Roadster:
- Trade in to Tesla directly.
- Sell the car yourself through ebay or other methods
- Use a 3rd party dealer
All three methods have advantages and disadvantages. Trading into Tesla is the very easy method, but they take a large chunk of cash for the service. Another advantage is that you get the value of the trade in immediately and do not have to wait till they sell the Roadster. They also sell the cars for more to the end buyer.
Selling the car yourself is always a hassle. I’m personally not a negotiator by nature. I’ve only sold one car in the past. I usually drive my cars till they are quite old, and not worth a particularly large amount of money. The other three cars were donated. One vehicle was worth less than the repair cost and given to a tinkering friend. The other two were donated to two different charities. Almost any charity will take a car as a donation that is in reasonable shape. They will have an employee basically do the same process that an individual will do to sell the car.
Well, the Roadster was worth more than a few thousand dollars, so did not qualify in the donate to charity category, and would probably be too unique of a car to burden a small charity with.
I liked the straightforward process Tesla went through with a quote for the Roadster. I just thought I was leaving money on the table.
Tesla ended up giving me a lead on a 3rd party sports car dealer, whom other Roadster owners had used in the past. I ended up going that route, and found the experience to be pleasant. Since I have had only one transaction with this organization and am cautious with public recommendations, I am not going to name them. Unfortunately, I doubt there are too many reasonable “used car dealers” out there, but this company was fine and familiar enough with electric cars.
The company offered two methods – an outright purchase or a consignment. The estimates for the consignment range were of course higher than the immediate purchase.
I went with the consignment as I was not in a hurry to get the cash. I started the process right before Christmas. I was warned that the business for these types of cars is very slow around the holidays and really does not pick up till spring.
In the end, they were right and the car sold around the change of the weather. I did not end up getting more than the initial outright purchase price though.
I think there had been a mini-glut of Roadsters early this year. A lot of folks who owned Roadsters were trading into a Model S. A lot of folks like myself were more interested in the electric car aspect of both cars than really wanting a sports car or even a large luxury car. I’d prefer the Model S about 10” narrower. There definitely seemed to be a drop in the selling price of Roadsters in early in 2013 – not huge but apparent. The number of Roadsters advertised seems to be dropping recently. Probably as the electric enthusiasts have already moved on to the Model S.
In the end, I netted $5K more than if I had traded in directly to Tesla with a few month delay and no real hassle. I may have gotten a bit more if I sold it on my own but I cannot imagine it have been worth the hassle as the buyer was out of state.