Everyone knows a new car begins to depreciate as soon as you buy it. It is impossible to know how much any car truly costs until you sell it. Then and only then can you calculate the difference between what you paid for it and how much it was worth as a used car. What most people don’t know, however, is that the Tesla Model S sedan and Model X SUV hold their value better than any of their gasoline-powered competitors in the premium car segment.
Based on data on used car prices between January 1, 2012 and November 5, 2018, Autolist.com says a Model S sedan with 50,000 miles on its odometer is worth 27% less than its original sales price. The next best sedan in the premium category is the Mercedes S Class sedan at a 33% value loss. Other premium cars included in the study were the BMW 7 Series, Audi A8, and Porsche Panamera. And the Jaguar XJ sedan, which had the worst resale value of all. It lost 45% of its value by the 50,000 mile mark.
The Model X SUV performed even better. It was up against the Audi Q7, Mercedes GLS, Infiniti QX80, Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator, BMW X5, and Range Rover. With 50,000 miles on the odometer, a Model X is worth just 23% less than it cost new. The Navigator was second best at 34%, while the X5 was worst at 37%.
The Autolist study was based on copious amounts of data. More than 1.2 million listings for large luxury sedans were included. 35,442 of those were for Model S sedans. On the SUV side, nearly 1.7 listings in the large luxury segment were included, of which 4,242 were Model X vehicles.
Like its sedan counterpart, the depreciation curve for the Model X from 10,000 to 100,000 miles consistently outperforms its gas-powered peers. The Autolist study also shows that sales of the more mainstream Model 3 sedan have not lowered resale values for the Model S and Model X at all.
You can’t know the true cost of ownership of any vehicle until you consider all the factors that go into the ownership experience, including original cost, insurance, maintenance, fuel, and depreciation. What the Autolist study shows is that Teslas have some of the lowest total cost of ownership numbers in the industry — welcome news when it comes time to trade or sell.