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Trading a car in to Tesla

Discussion in 'Tesla Motors' started by wilheldp, Jul 25, 2016.

  1. wilheldp

    wilheldp Member

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    Before I even decided to order my Model S, I had read that Tesla "low-balled" trade-in offers. They don't stock or sell other models of cars, so they just have a 3rd party broker buy the car immediately upon trade-in. This made sense to me, and all of the Tesla reps I spoke with during the ordering process were very up-front about it.

    Keeping this in mind, I told the reps (dealing with an Owner Advisor and Product Specialist at this point) that I was going to take my car to CarMax and get a quote from them. When I mentioned that, the OA told me that Tesla would match the CarMax quote for trade-in value. Great! I could drive my old car up to Cincy, pick up the Tesla, and leave the old car. So I thought...

    The CarMax quote came in at $6500. I notified my DS of this, and he didn't seem to have a problem with it. About a week before delivery, my DS told me that a rep from Alliance Inspection Management (AIM) would be contacting me to appraise the trade-in car. They did, and I scheduled the appraisal for the next week. My Tesla ended up beating the delivery window, so the appraisal happened one morning when I was scheduled to pick the car up the next afternoon (appraisal on Thursday morning, delivery scheduled for 2 pm on Friday). My DS calls me at about 2 pm on Thursday and informs me that AIM found a lot of "abnormal wear and tear" on my vehicle, so the most they could offer me was $4500.

    I was pretty upset at this. First of all, the AIM inspector just did a visual inspection of the car. There was no test drive or analysis of the mechanical condition of the car. Second, there were multiple line items on the appraisal where I was docked $500/each for scratches or scrapes over 12" long and more than 10 rock chips on the hood. There are several scratches and scrapes on my car, but none of them are anywhere near 12" long (longest probably about 3"). There were several photos embedded in the report, but there were no photos of the supposed scratches that were worth a $500/each deduction on the offer.

    CarMax did a full visual and mechanical inspection of the car, plus they took it for a test drive. I didn't end up trading in my car to Tesla, so I took it back to CarMax. By the time I took it back, a month had passed and their appraisals are only good for a week. They re-inspeced the car, and again, came back with a $6500 offer. If CarMax could buy it at that price, then why couldn't Tesla? Tesla could just turn around and sell it to CarMax...and I could get the tax break for trading in a car.

    I'm not really that upset at Tesla or any other people I dealt with there. My DS arranged for a rental car at Tesla's expense to get me to Cincy for delivery. I'm really only out ~$350 in taxes due to not having a trade-in on my MVPA. I just wanted to put a cautionary tale out there for people considering buying a Tesla and trading in their car to Tesla. Make sure that Tesla's appraisal comes back with an agreeable number before you plan on trading it to them.
     
  2. msnow

    msnow Active Member

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    You're lucky you came out even. I contacted my OA about 3 weeks before delivery and insisted on the inspection to happen no later than 10 days before delivery but preferably 14. Tesla also sent AIM to appraise my car but it was more than just a quick visual. He started my truck and let it run for about 15 minutes, climbed underneath to inspect shocks, tires and undercarriage, full interior inspection including radio, heater and AC. The whole process took 35-40 minutes. They did a good job. I ended up selling it privately so I came out much better. I think you should not have let them make you wait until the day before because it put you at a big disadvantage.
     
  3. wilheldp

    wilheldp Member

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    It wasn't supposed to work out that way. We were trying to get the inspection done about a week before delivery. But you can't do it too far in advance because the appraisal is only good for 2 weeks or 500 miles, whichever comes first. My Tesla just beat its delivery window, and I didn't want to delay it.

    My AIM appraiser drove up from Tennessee the morning of the inspection. Showed up at my workplace at 8:45 am. Gave me the keys back at 9 am. I offered him a cup of coffee and asked him if he wanted to come in and use the restroom or anything, but he declined, saying he had a lot of inspections to do that day. The whole process seemed very rushed to me. When he asked for my key, I specifically asked him if he was going to take it for a test drive, and he said "no...I just need to inspect the interior and pop the hood, so I need the key." I thought it was odd, but I also thought that this was just a formality because Tesla was going to match the CarMax quote anyway. Boy did I turn out to be wrong.
     
  4. smoline

    smoline Member

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    I traded in a 2015 Corvette for a 2016 Model S 90D. Tesla gave me a quote at the start of the process which I thought was a bit low. So instead I tried to sell the car myself for more money. After a month of advertising and no serious offers, I went back to Tesla. Yes, the offer was still valid, and they arranged the AIM inspection. Once inspected, Tesla said the car was now worth $1K less than they originally offered. I said no thank you and terminated the deal. Later the same day Tesla called back, said they would eat the $1K difference if we could close on the deal right now. Easy. Done. I'm happy with my new Tesla and the deal.
     
  5. wilheldp

    wilheldp Member

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    I really think that the problem is with AIM. It may be easier for Tesla to use a 3rd party system like that, but I really think that AIM is on the same level as a normal car dealership in terms of dishonesty and trying to "pull one over on you." I just filled out my delivery survey, and I told Tesla that the only negative experience I had during the whole Tesla purchase process was dealing with AIM and their low-ball offer on my trade-in. It seems that this has also affected other people. Maybe Tesla could team up with CarMax for a mutually beneficial arrangement. My experienced with CarMax was quite pleasant.
     
    • Like x 1
  6. msnow

    msnow Active Member

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    They used to have a relationship with AutoNation which is similar to CarMax but because of complaints they went to the system they have now. Keep in mind that many people had good experiences with AIM and Tesla's network of brokers and since used cars aren't their business are only doing this as a service to their customers. I doubt there's much if any financial benefit to TM anyway.
     
  7. jelloslug

    jelloslug Member

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    Tesla should just team up with CarMax and be done with it. The CarMax dealers are everywhere and most people that are even slightly educated about the Tesla trade in process knows to go to CarMax first anyway.
     
  8. gavine

    gavine Petrol Head turned EV Enthusiast

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    I like CarMax, but they don't even sell Tesla (not listed as a choice under "make" on their site). Pesumably, a certain percentage of trade-ins will be Teslas, so CarMax probably isn't interested, at least not yet. Does Tesla send-out their Tesla trade-ins to AIM also or do they handle those themselves?
     
  9. msnow

    msnow Active Member

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    AIM is just an auto inspection service. As far as I know they don't buy and sell cars.
     
  10. oferrer

    oferrer Member

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    I also scheduled an inspection through Tesla for a trade-in and they sent someone from AIM. While the fact they come to you for the inspection is very convenient, I do think their offers are pretty low. I didn't try Carmax as I decided to sell it privately, but the difference between the AIM offer and the private sale was about $6,000.
     
  11. gavine

    gavine Petrol Head turned EV Enthusiast

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    I got you beat. AIM appraised my 2014 S60 at $38K. I sold it to the local BMW dealer for $51K. I was going to give CarMax a shot at it too, but I thought $51K was good enough to do the deal right then and there, especially with Tesla bringing S60 back around that same time.
     
  12. ishop4more

    ishop4more Member

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    My DS told me they'd match any written offer I had. I had one from Texas Direct Auto and one from Car Max. They expired before I got the AIM appraisal on behalf of Tesla, but was again told that they'd match an open offer. Texas Direct Auto issued me a new offer. Tesla matched it. My DS arranged for Uber to take me home after I dropped my car off (2 weeks before delivery) and for Uber to take me to pick up my car at delivery.

    The irony of it all: on the other end of the building where the SC is located is a Texas Direct Auto.:eek:
     
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  13. djplong

    djplong Member

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    Well, you might have been "out" $350 for not having a trade-in, but you "gained" $2000 for going to CarMax.

    Shouldn't have been that way, but it's another way of looking at it.
     
  14. Ciaopec

    Ciaopec Member

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    I took my car in for appraisal at Tesla Sales in Ohio. They inspected it and then they drove it over to CarMax. CarMax apparently not interested in a luxury hybrid. My sales guy said that Tesla had sellers all over the county bidding on the trade-ins and that the program was run out of an office in Chicago. They had about 5 bids on my car. Ultimately, AIM came out and did a very thorough (and pretty much) fair inspection. My private party deal fell through so I traded to Tesla. I tracked the car and less than a month later it was sold, in Houston, by Texas Direct Auto.

    I, too, found this whole experience to be THE negative of the sale process. But 6 weeks and 6000 miles on the MS made me suppress most of that!:cool:
     
  15. ishop4more

    ishop4more Member

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    Apparently, with oil prices so low, no one is interested in a hybrid of any kind. I thought it was ironic that I got only $200 more for my 2008 Camry Hybrid than I got for my 1997 Maxima (that wasn't fully loaded) drowned in 2007. Doesn't seem right, does it?
     
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  16. Ciaopec

    Ciaopec Member

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    No it doesn't. And as bad as I made the experience out to be, when I looked at what Tesla offered (their dealer quote) and what the dealer ultimately sold my car for, the numbers were (in my mind) in line. The dealer make a profit but not excessive and I purchased a dream.
     
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