Image of Tesla Model S courtesy of Tesla media kit
John Goreham's picture

Tesla Model Tops List of Vehicles With Lowest Retained Value Over Past 12 Months

Used car prices are booming, but this Tesla Model bucks that trend. Here is the old model from Tesla that nobody seems to want to pay more for.

A new study by has determined that the average used car price has risen by 17% in the past year. Some used vehicles are seeing massive price jumps in their trade-in or private-sale value. For example, the Mercedes Benz S-Class sedan has seen its value rise by 28%, which amounts to an average increase in value of about $16K for lucky owners. Corvette owners are seeing even greater valuation spikes.

Chart courtesy of iSeeCars

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Tesla Model S Is Yesterday's News
However, one model notably bucks this trend, seeing a decrease in value over the period of 2%. That vehicle is the Tesla Model S sedan. Ironically, Tesla used the Mercedes S-Class as a comparison vehicle to its Model S in the past for retained value. The Tesla Model S is presently not in production, meaning it is not available for sale new right now. Tesla says it didn't build any in its latest quarterly production report to investors. That fact makes the Model S' decline in value all the more shocking. Has this once-hot model jumped the shark?

Related Story (2013) - Elon Musk Guarantees Model S Will Match Mercedes S-Class Resale Value

Typically, used car values would remain about flat over a year, but in case you have been living under a slab of silicon, there is a global shortage of key components to make cars, and supply is restricted. In the case of the Model S, Tesla says that it stopped production to work on the production line ahead of a big refresh to the model. The new version of this six-figure sort-of-supercar is to receive even greater performance and a novel yoke-style steering thingy when Tesla finally gets around to building and delivering some more.

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iSeeCars' Take On The Tesla Model S Decline In Popularity
iSeeCars Executive Analyst, Karl Brauer commented on the Tesla Model S topping the losers' chart, saying, “The once high-demand Tesla Model S has declined in popularity thanks to more affordable Tesla models like the Model 3 and Model Y, both of which are substantially cheaper than the used Model S, even when purchased new.”

Mr. Brauer also sees the silver lining in the unpopularity of the old Model S. He points out in the study conclusions that the models with the worst retained value are ones that consumers may find as relatively good deals right now.

The Tesla Model S was the only car that the study found to have a declining value during this unusual period of used car value spikes. You can view the full results on the iSeeCars study summary page.

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 newspapers 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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