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Elon Musk’s Past Comments On Car Discounts Are Now Hillarious

It’s fun to look back and see what Elon Musk said about discounting new cars when Tesla was ascending.

Back in 2016, Elon Musk wrote a directive to his minions. It read: "There can never -- and I mean never -- be a discount on a new car coming out of the factory in pristine condition," Musk wrote. "This is why I always pay full price when I buy a car, and the same applies to my family, friends, celebrities, no matter how famous or influential."

The missive was picked up and highlighted at that time by CNN and Fox affiliates, along with a lot of other media, such as Torque News. The general vibe was “Tesla can get away with this because Tesla is special.” Looking back on the No-Discounts-Ever mandate from Elon Musk now, one can only giggle.

The huge cash-on-the-dash discounts Tesla rolled out last quarter to move iron in a futile attempt to stop its stock price from falling further and further are now quite well known. In fact, some analysts point to the massive Tesla discounts as one reason investors are so sour on the stock entering 2023. However, this is not the first time Tesla has discounted.

Your author was offered a large discount on a Tesla Model 3 in 2019. The vehicle was new, pristine, and fresh from the factory. The problem was that I was shopping for the ever-elusive “$35K” Tesla Model 3 that only Big Foot owns. After the humongous $2,330 discount, the Tesla Model 3 Tesla called me to offer (that’s right, they phoned me soliciting my business following a stop at a local retail outlet), the price was still near $50K, and that was in old American money before the 117th U.S. Congress destroyed the value of that dollar by creating back to back years of inflation near 10%.

American automakers like GM, Ford, and Tesla have often offered massive discounts to move excess inventory unwanted by consumers off lots and off the books. Tesla’s recent $7,500 was the largest we have seen thus far. However, with Tesla’s huge increase in production capacity in many gigafactories now humming long when COVID hasn’t shut the doors, Tesla may well find itself discounting even further. After all, the Model S is now well into its second decade, and it sure feels like the Hyundai Ioniq moved Tesla’s cheese.

We will continue to track the evolution of Tesla that has included so far:
“Your service loaner will be better than your own Tesla”
“Free Superchargers for life”
“Never ever discount a new car”

If there is a Tesla topic you would like us to explore, please feel free to suggest it in the comments below.

Image of money in hand by John Goreham.

John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. John's interest in EVs goes back to 1990 when he designed the thermal control system for an EV battery as part of an academic team. After earning his mechanical engineering degree, John completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers, in the semiconductor industry, and in biotech. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American news outlets and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on TikTok @ToknCars, on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin

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