Tesla Roadster Buyback Program Launched

Owners of the Tesla Roadster who may now be eyeing the American automaker’s more practical Model S can trade in their convertible sports car for a new sedan. The Palo Alto Company will take back old Roadsters and give the owners credit on their new sedans. The Roadsters will then be resold at Tesla’s own stores. This will give others the opportunity to own the electric convertible. Only 2,500 Roadsters were made since it first hit the market in 2008 and used ones will be much cheaper than the original $109,000 price. “Someone who couldn’t reach all the way to a Roadster before, now may be able to get one at a lower price,” said Tom vonReichbauer, Tesla’s director of finance. “We’re able to set what I think are pretty competitive prices for these cars.”

The trade-in value each Roadster owner receives will be based on a detailed inspection of the car. But Tesla would likely resell a 2010 Roadster with 2,900 miles for $93,500, according to the company. A 2008 Roadster with 31,000 miles would probably resell for $73,300. Some Roadster owners may actually get money back if their vehicle is valued higher than the Model S they’re opting for. In 2010, a handful of Roadster owners started approaching the company about trading in their cars for newer versions. Tesla had just released the Roadster 2.5, and some tech-obsessed customers wanted an upgrade.

The program also gives Tesla another product to sell before its next car, the Model X crossover, starts production. The company plans to stay in the resale business as its product line expands over the years, vonReichbauer said. “We’re the leader in (electric vehicle) technology here,” he said. “And we know these cars better than anyone else.” The reason for the Model S to be chosen is because it is fast, quiet, roomy and smooth. Its dashboard boasts a 17-inch touch screen that looks and operates much like an iPad. It can seat seven, provided that two of the passengers are kids. “The S is a competitive, comfortable, fully furnished car,” said Felix Kramer, founder of CalCars, a plug-in vehicle advocacy group. “It’s not spartan like the Roadster.”