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Have Roadster Prices Bottomed Out?

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by Roadster, Jan 1, 2017.

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  1. Roadster

    Roadster Member

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    Happy New Year, everyone! Wanted to start 2017 with the all important question for those of us looking to buy our first Roadster...

    Q: Have Roadster prices bottomed out?


    I'm woefully late to the Roadster party and am still trying to wrap my head around what I should be paying for these cars; let alone find one that matches my desired criteria (good luck with that... right?).

    In the limited time I've been tracking sale prices; not necessarily sold prices; I'm seeing the following ballpark figures but pls feel free to correct any of them if you're research shows differently:
    • 1.5 | $45K - $55K
    • 2.0 Base | $50K - $65K
    • 2.0 Sport | $68K - $78K
    • 2.5 Base | $65K - $75K
    • 2.5 Sport | $80K - $90K+
    Stating the obvious, cars with meticulous ownership and service history including warranty PEM and ESS swaps yielding solid CACs as well as those that are highly optioned draw the most interest while 2.5 models in any trim or options level clearly appear to be the most desirable due to the finality of their model year run combined with what would arguably be considered the best styling and manufacturing refinements in the vehicle's history. That said, it seems all the cars currently on the market seem to be languishing there for weeks or months on end. Which leads me to the original question I posed.

    With a dwindling pool of new enthusiasts like myself left to consider purchasing these awesome yet rare vehicles; esp. considering that any prospective, would-be-green curiosity-seeking status-symbol buyers have all been drawn to the MS and MX flame; is now the right time to buy?
     
  2. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    #2 ecarfan, Jan 1, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2017
    There is no way to know with any degree of certainty what will happen with Roadster prices in the future. That said, for the vast majority of car models, used vehicle prices decline over time. Sometimes a car model will, after many years/decades, start to appreciate if it becomes desired by collectors. Sometimes. Example: the Porsche 356 was superseded by the 9-series cars starting in 1964 in the US. 356 values plummeted and by the late 70's you could pick them up for a small fraction of their original $4K (approx.) price. This held true into the 80's. But by the mid 90's values started to rise, and by the 00's values really started to increase to the point that currently an early 60's 356 in good condition can sell for 15,000% more than it's original purchase price (not adjusted for inflation).

    But other sports cars from the same period as the 356 have barely appreciated and in fact have depreciated in inflation-adjusted dollars (which is the only rational way to look at value).

    Right now there is nothing else like the Roadster available, new or used. But that could change in the next 5 years. When Tesla gets around to making a new version of the Roadster (I have no idea when that will happen) I would expect used Roadster values to fall significantly. Until that time I expect them to gradually decline. I'm sure some people will disagree. That's fine, no one can predict the future with certainty...
     
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  3. RobsJester

    RobsJester Member

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    Roadster, you've certainly done your research and seem well informed (I'm impressed that the "Roadster" handle was still available in late-2016).

    I would suspect as Telsa's brand becomes mainstream going forward, the pool of interested buyers for Tesla's limited first-run vehicle will increase - so long as Tesla continues to support the Roadster program with updated batteries. I personally believe we are at a trough. Maybe the 2020 "hyper-plaid" Roadster 4.0 will deter some interest, but the updated Roadster will likely be a $175k+ car, so there will still be a market for the original Roadster. You'll love the car, and as a second or third owner, I don't think you'd take too much of a depreciation hit if you should decide to sell years down the road.

    I've been curious if TEG keeps a running guess of the number of roadsters left in the wild (or more precisely, the VIN's of Roadsters that have been lost/totaled).
     
  4. supersnoop

    supersnoop Tesla Roadster #334

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    I have to disagree with this point. The manufacturing refinements in the 2.0 and 2.5 were mainly cost savings, not improvements. The 1.5 is dramatically over-engineered.
     
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  5. Roadster

    Roadster Member

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    @ecarfan - I hear you loud and clear on the Porsche market. I had the pleasure of owning a Tangerine '70 911E which I sadly parted ways with a year too early :mad:. Still made a respectable profit over what I paid for it but, oh what a difference one addl. year of holding onto it would have made. The prices on early 911s hockey sticked so rapidly after that even the 911SC market got lifted with the tide. Things seem to have plateaued but only for the entry level trim 911T. The '64 - '73 911S (highest trim) prices, in particular, continue to astound as high end collectors have finally discovered the enjoyment of adding RWD + understeering to their stables, LOL!

    As for a significant price drop upon the arrival of 4.0, I hope you're wrong but the pragmatist in me thinks you're right. Regardless, thx for your input there.

    @RobsJester - the TMC Roadster community on this board is tremendously collaborative and supportive. That, combined with the fact that the majority of the Roadster forum threads are extremely well written, informative and entertaining to read, makes learning about these cars a joy and gives us n00bs a glimpse into why owners such as yourself are as passionate as you are about these cars. This old marketing video, which many of you have undoubtedly seen before, does a fantastic job at capturing what I can only imagine to be the feeling any Roadster fan would have once they ascend into the ranks of owner status.

    Interesting counterpoint you bring up about "hyper-plaid" 4.0 creating a residual interest in the first gen. Let's hope that's indeed the case. If my ballpark pricing is at least somewhat accurate (someone pls confirm, thx), quick math tells us the trough you mentioned we're in puts us right around the magic 50% depreciation mark which is normally a good point to take the plunge. The only exception I've come across was #1232; a.k.a. "Goodwill" with its freebie 3.0 upgrade; which deservedly commanded mad coin as it was a fully optioned 2.5 Sport. Who ended up with her, BTW? If you're reading this and are still in L.A., I'd love to come chat with you and see her in person!

    And, yeah, I have no idea how the "Roadster" handle was available either but happy to have landed it!

    @supersnoop - fair point which I clearly made the rookie mistake of overlooking.

    I guess rephrasing the question to "Will the Roadster ever become collectible?" would have been more appropriate but that's been covered before a few times. If we're indeed in a trough, the market seems to be steadily filling it up with legit examples so prospective buyers should take notice.
     
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  6. Msjulie

    Msjulie Member

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    I have heard this, can you provide more info? Don't the post 1.5 have more cooling for the PEM and battery and isn't that a plus? Also the 'tire learn' thing I've read about?

    I have a 1.5 so I may be hopefully biased :)
     
  7. Roadster

    Roadster Member

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  8. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Porsche's "Tangerine" color was my absolute favorite for that time period. Which is why when I was searching for a Roadster I had to have "Very Orange". :D

    You experience selling a '70 911E just before prices started to shoot up illustrates my point: it is impossible to predict when a vintage car will dramatically appreciate or continue it's steady depreciation. In my opinion the Roadster will be approaching "vintage" status in the near future because the pace of automobile technological change with Tesla is so rapid. In comparison to a "classic" S the Roadster is primitive. In comparison to a new EAP S or X the Roadster looks like an antique. Now imagine how the 1.5/2.0/2.5 Roadsters will compare to the future "all new" Roadster in several years. They will seem like a Model T. Will it still be an awesome car to drive and have fun with? I think so. But I see it's market value falling to well below where it is now. It has no fast DC charging, no AP-type sensors, a tiny trunk, hard seats that have almost no adjustments, no power steering, the steering wheel isn't adjustable, it's very noisy at highway speeds...I could go on.

    I love my Roadster. But I'm trying to be objective about how it compares to new Teslas and how it will compare to the future all new Roadster.
     
  9. Msjulie

    Msjulie Member

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    I like that my (1.5) roadster is the most advanced old school car I've driven
     
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  10. Jonathanm

    Jonathanm Member

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    Where I live in France - Tesla is only a little heard of in the general market place. But things are slowly changing - they still have to face the prejudice of the press fuelled by local producers - but things are slowly changing - the small Renault Squizzy is selling quite well - although only a 1 person city car with limited range and performance to match.
    In my view the future of our cars will have a lot to do with the success or not of M3. It is potentially a game changer. If that is the case, in my view, it will bring about considerable interest in our cars.
    Just last week I purchased a 2.5 Sport for what I think was a fair price. I have been watching the market for 2-3 years.
    Sure there are not many nuts around like us - but my bet is that there will be more in 2 years or so.
    Maybe I'm way off the mark but time will tell.
     
  11. andybm3

    andybm3 Member

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    My 2 cents here. First the Roadster is a fabulous car and IMO will go down as a pioneering achievement in EV history. A car that can go >200 mile on one charge and do 0-60 <4 secs, it set the stage for what was to come. If you want to buy, I would focus on what you want more so than the cost as there are few available and the condition can vary a lot. Buy it, enjoy it and keep it. From a price standpoint I can tell you I sold my original 2008 1.5 Roadster (#404) in April 2014 with 28k miles and normal range of ~172 miles (don't have CAC) for $52k and at the same time picked up a 2011 2.5 Sport (#1453), with 360 miles and normal range of ~185 miles (CAC 156) for $77k (sticker was $151k). I can't say I enjoy the 2.5 materially better that the 1.5, other than I do like the new double DIN dash and the new seats, and of course the battery has less miles on it. These are fabulous cars, my only concern is long term maintenance and parts, which has not been a problem to date, but I suspect could be in 10 years?
     
  12. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    There is a thread about how one owner waited many many months for a new PEM. On the other hand, about a year ago or so I needed a new 12V Switchpack board and was pleasantly surprised (shocked, in fact) when my local Service Center had one in stock!

    In my opinion, Roadster replacement parts are sometimes an issue right now and I will continue to be an issue in the future. It was a very limited production car with many unique parts made practically by hand by Tesla. Remember that to build the new 3.0 battery Tesla acknowledged that they had to bring out of storage some battery manufacturing equipment that hadn't been used for some time and figure out how to make it work with the new cells. It clearly wasn't easy to do. I am very happy to have a 3.0 battery in my Roadster, but I worry about what will happen in the future if my PEM fails.
     
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  13. Kerios

    Kerios Member

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    As an example, I purchased by Roadster last year for about $50k, which is a UK Right hand drive, 2011 model, sold as a 2.5, actually a 2.0 though. It had 60k miles on it, but came with an extended warranty (which saw the PEM replaced last Sept for a "new" one at zero cost, all TPMS sensors replaced and senders, and the rear fan replaced complete). In addition, the original owner, had a battery replacement agreement in play, which I have traded in with Tesla for the 3.0 upgrade for a very agreeable cost :-D

    I've found that whilst Tesla can be slow to replace parts, the parts are there if becoming difficult to locate - I think the delays are often more down to their totally vertical integrated organisation rather than any reluctance to support the vehicle. Certainly compared to other niche vehicles I've owned, they demonstrate nothing but good will.

    But to your original point, the Roadster is rare, and I think it's that and it's unique nature which will ultimately dictate the long term value. If you consider it an investment rather than a drive, you might loose out, consider it a drive and maybe an investment and I'm certain that it will be a great source of joy when considered perhaps with a rival sports car like an Elise, Cayman etc.
     
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  14. Roadster

    Roadster Member

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    @Kerios et al, I appreciate your pragmatic views and am taking them all to heart. I now just need to find the right car (getting very close though!).

    Revisiting my original post above, it would help me and my fellow Roadster virgins if our resident data miners (paging @TEG and @DeedWest) could chime in on the aforementioned ballpark pricing guestimates I made earlier:

     
  15. supersnoop

    supersnoop Tesla Roadster #334

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    I'd say you're $5k too low on the low side of the 1.5 and 2.0 base pricing, unless you're including a very high-mileage car in there.

    I bought my Roadster three years ago and I figure I could sell it for about $3k less than I paid. I don't know if prices have "bottomed out," but they have certainly evened off. I can't see any huge depreciation on the horizon.
     
  16. ViviV

    ViviV Member

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    I imagine it depends a lot on mileage, condition and options, but in Oct 2016 my 2.0 Sport fully optioned was in the range you specify.
     
  17. n2mb_racing

    n2mb_racing Member

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    Thought I'd mention, I'm going to be posting my 2.0 Sport Roadster for sale as soon as I can have it detailed. It will be at the bottom end of the range you mentioned and it is well optioned. MSRP was $137k. ~17,000 miles.

    I love the Roadster, but I leased a P90DL and end up driving that more... I was told I can only keep two cars, and I have another turbo ICE car that I keep for testing my business products.
     
  18. DeedWest

    DeedWest 2010 Roadster 2.0 - VIN 523

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    #18 DeedWest, Jan 5, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017
    I agree with @supersnoop , as it greatly varies. A 1.5 in better shape than most on the market right now sold recently for $42,900 to a fellow TMC member. I'll let him come forward if he desires. Similarly, I'd expect a low mileage 1.5, Signature 100, to sell in the $60-$65K range, simply because it's one of the first 100 and it's what some like myself would consider a collector's car.

    @Roadster , you're nearly spot on. Based on my data for the last year, I've come up with this.

    1.5 - $48,000 - $60,000
    2.0 Base - $55,000 - $70,000
    2.0 Sport - $60,000 - $75,000
    2.5 Base - $60,000 - $70,000
    2.5 Sport - $70,000 - $90,000.

    Note the giant gap in Sport models...some don't have many options, while others do. That seems to greatly affect pricing.

    Now, with these cars, I'm simply factoring what people have paid, not asked, for them, in the last year.
    I believe options have a massive impact on what a Roadster is worth. Biggest for me when shopping are the following:

    1.) Battery health / CAC. A new car's CAC is reportedly around 160. Ideal Miles are 190-194 at that CAC. I've seen cars at 50,000 miles charge to 182 Ideal Miles. That's an example of a flawlessly maintained battery (or, possibly a recent replacement, which I'll mention next.)

    2.) Service history. This is everything. If a car has had a battery or PEM replacement at some point, this is worth more. Those are the two main parts that Tesla likes to say "replace it" at the sign of a fault. If a car is up to date on annual services, has had those awful TPMS sensors / antennae replaced, brake fluid flushed, transmission fluid, AC refrigerant recharged, etc., those are excellent buying points. The more replaced / repaired (except wrecks, paint jobs, etc.), the better, in my opinion. The cars that are never driven scare me sometimes. When I bought mine, the 400V controller failed for what seemed like no reason, just one day after taking it home. However, that's not to say some cars don't work flawlessly. For example, my old 2.5, #1213, had no issues for 11,000 miles. It had 6 less issues than my Model S!!! But for me, newer parts / up-to-date services make me more interested in buying a Roadster.

    3.) Options. For example, 2.5's usually go for the highest, because they're the latest made and because of the styling that some like more. However, if you have a 2.5 Base with hardly any options (base paint, base seats, no adj. suspension, no paint armor, no hard top, no CF...high mileage, and low Ideal Miles, I'd expect that car to be worth $55,000. It just depends.
    If I saw a 1.5 with full ext. and int. carbon, hard top, Electronics Group, Paint Armor, and a great battery & service history, I'd pay above $60,000 for it easily! Similarly, a 2.5 Sport with every single option in the right color to the right buyer could go for $95,000...I saw a near-fully optioned 2.5 Sport with 30,000 miles sell for $89,000 recently. It all depends...
    But again, this is only my honest opinion...happy hunting!
     
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  19. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for posting your data. I'm interested in knowing how many data points (sales) you have for each Roadster version and how you know the price that was paid as opposed to the publicly stated asking price?
     
  20. SpitzNV

    SpitzNV Member

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    Over the past 6 months, I've seen quite a few 2.5 Sports offered for low 70s.
    I got mine for $73K back in June - mint condition, full body wrap, with around 15K miles.
    Impossible to say if they've bottomed out or not, as there are so many factors at play - many having absolutely nothing to do with the car itself.
    I would guess that the Roadsters will eventually become collectors cars, but it may take many more years.
    I absolutely love mine, but it's not a car for everyone (my wife flat out refuses to drive it, for example).
    As for the Roadster 4.0 - I don't see it as competition to the existing Roadster install base.
    As many have speculated here, it'll almost certainly be based on the Model 3 chassis and so its DNA will be diametrically opposed to our Roadsters (and this isn't even bringing MSRP into account).
     
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