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When does a Model S become a 2016?

Old Man Mike

Member
Oct 7, 2015
189
170
Huntertown, IN
I understand that Tesla model year is not defined the same way as other car manufacturers where a 2016 model is available in the fall of 2015. Instead, Tesla defines the car year based on actual production. My question is:

If a Model S starts production late December and finishes early January, is it defined as a 2015 model or 2016?
 

FlatSix911

Porsche 918 Hybrid
Jun 15, 2015
6,652
6,113
Silicon Valley
Model year is very loosely defined and can be assigned by the automaker +/- a few months

Tesla-Motors-VIN-NHTSA.jpe


vin_chart_when_car_was_built.jpg
 
Last edited:

Vger

Active Member
Apr 10, 2009
1,781
210
Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada
It is defined when the VIN is assigned, because the VIN encodes the build year. That is generally at the start of production. For all practical purposes, for Tesla, MY 2016 starts with cars entering production on Jan. 1. Production only lasts a few days, generally.
 

Old Man Mike

Member
Oct 7, 2015
189
170
Huntertown, IN
It is defined when the VIN is assigned, because the VIN encodes the build year. That is generally at the start of production. For all practical purposes, for Tesla, MY 2016 starts with cars entering production on Jan. 1. Production only lasts a few days, generally.

Thanks! I should have figured this out myself since I had decoded a VIN number for an S model earlier this year. The VIN is assigned at confirmation and before entering production, so a car which started production in 2016 could still be a 2015.
 

mgboyes

Member
Apr 16, 2014
812
26
United Kingdom
I understand that Tesla model year is not defined the same way as other car manufacturers where a 2016 model is available in the fall of 2015. Instead, Tesla defines the car year based on actual production. My question is:

If a Model S starts production late December and finishes early January, is it defined as a 2015 model or 2016?

I think the fairest thing to say is that Tesla don't really define "car year" at all. It's basically meaningless - there's no such thing as a "2013 MY Model S" because the specs and options change all the time.

It is defined when the VIN is assigned, because the VIN encodes the build year. That is generally at the start of production.

Interesting. UK cars get their VINs assigned long before production. My P85D got its VIN on 13 July, which was then amended later in the month when I reconfigured it to be a P90DL (different battery code), but it didn't go into production until 1 September.

Didn't realise there was a production year encoded in there.
 

jhs_7645

VIN: #3305
Jul 1, 2012
564
217
Camas, WA
It is defined when the VIN is assigned, because the VIN encodes the build year. That is generally at the start of production. For all practical purposes, for Tesla, MY 2016 starts with cars entering production on Jan. 1. Production only lasts a few days, generally.

Yes and no. I know my VIN was assigned in 2012 car was delivered Jan 18th, 2013 and it was a 2013 car (VIN #3305). I think they make (or at least used to make) an attempt to roll the VIN year a bit early because they don’t want to deliver any 2015 cars in 2016. Of course, that longer time period might have just been due to the early production days.
 

Sparktz

S 90D, X 90D
Oct 14, 2015
120
17
United States
I have one on order and specifically requested that it be a 2016 model year. To accommodate this request, my delivery got pushed back from December to late January to mid February.
 

Cebe

Member
Dec 13, 2014
249
80
Canada
It's another thing to educate anybody buying/selling a used Model S. In the US, the "model year" can be used for almost two full years - as long as there is only a single January 1st involved. The emissions/safety certification runs by the model year. So, whatever designation Tesla chooses to use, I imagine they still have to officially deal with that aspect of the "model years"...
 

Old Man Mike

Member
Oct 7, 2015
189
170
Huntertown, IN
I have one on order and specifically requested that it be a 2016 model year. To accommodate this request, my delivery got pushed back from December to late January to mid February.

That's interesting. I currently have a VIN number with an "F" designation for 2015 but the car is still in queue for production. I wonder if it is too late to request a delay to make it a 2016. Waiting an extra month or two, especially in winter doesn't seem like a bad trade to get a 2016 instead of 2015. It does seem that it would make a difference in future trade-in value.
 

Sparktz

S 90D, X 90D
Oct 14, 2015
120
17
United States
That's interesting. I currently have a VIN number with an "F" designation for 2015 but the car is still in queue for production. I wonder if it is too late to request a delay to make it a 2016. Waiting an extra month or two, especially in winter doesn't seem like a bad trade to get a 2016 instead of 2015. It does seem that it would make a difference in future trade-in value.

Yep, the trade in value was my main thought in the request. I have waited this long, waiting another 4-6 weeks was very worth it to me.
 

breser

AutoPilot Nostradamus
Aug 28, 2014
2,314
94
North Bend, WA
It is defined when the VIN is assigned, because the VIN encodes the build year. That is generally at the start of production. For all practical purposes, for Tesla, MY 2016 starts with cars entering production on Jan. 1. Production only lasts a few days, generally.

This doesn't fit with what they did for 2015. VINs for vehicles that clearly wouldn't be produced until 2015 but were assigned way before still got 2014 VINs. In December Tesla went through and updated all the VINs. I know this because it happened with my car.

I understand that Tesla model year is not defined the same way as other car manufacturers where a 2016 model is available in the fall of 2015. Instead, Tesla defines the car year based on actual production. My question is:

If a Model S starts production late December and finishes early January, is it defined as a 2015 model or 2016?

So to answer the question. From what I was told when I asked this, the date that matters is the date when the car hits the point they start putting VINs on it. In Tesla's case this is towards the end of production. So in the scenario you propose it would end up being a 2015.

But if your car finished production on December 31, 2015 and you didn't get it until sometime in 2016 it would still be a 2015.
 

JonG

Banned
Aug 16, 2015
489
252
UK
I can't believe they mix model years on the production line so I guess the question is do they do a significant model year update like most other manufacturers (and if so, when, usually between now and calendar year end) or do they simply tweak all the time except when there's a product feature change.
 

mobe

Member
Jun 4, 2015
306
170
Joplin, Missouri
Tesla is really like an aircraft manufacturer.
On an airplane if you need a part you look at the serial number, because changes are continually made to improve the product regardless of the calendar year of manufacturer. So for example cars that are 75000- 84000 are identical even though car 75500 is a 2019 model year and car 83700 is a 2020 model year.
The major change according to model year game is a marketing scheme to make you dissatisfied that your car doesn't look like the neighbors brand new model because the NEW model has square tail lights instead of your ugly old round LAST years tailights!
I am very happy that Tesla does not play that game. It gives a much greater pride of ownership.
If you want the latest and greatest in a tesla, you do it for the tech, not some goofy style thing.
 

vitaliy

Member
Jun 17, 2015
295
74
Tysons, VA
I have postponed delivery from early December until late January for tax reasons. I doubt it will be 2016, since VIN was assigned on October 9...
 

andrewket

Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2012
5,704
1,525
The model year matters far less on Tesla vehicles compared to other manufacturers. I took delivery of a "2014" P85D in mid/late December. It is no different than a 2015 delivered the second week of January, and has the same resale value. If you want to delay for tax reasons that's one thing. But delaying just for the model year imho is just denying yourself a few more weeks or months of driving the best car made to date. I sold my previous S, a 2013 P85+ for almost the same amount that a 2014 variant was worth with the same mileage etc. The only reason I got slightly less was not because it was a 2013, but because a few options came out later in 2013 such as automatic collapsing side mirrors that my vehicle did not have. In fact that car had a few features that were discontinued and no longer available, such as the leather 3rd row which imho were much nicer than the fabric only variety.
 

Sparktz

S 90D, X 90D
Oct 14, 2015
120
17
United States
The model year matters far less on Tesla vehicles compared to other manufacturers. I took delivery of a "2014" P85D in mid/late December. It is no different than a 2015 delivered the second week of January, and has the same resale value. If you want to delay for tax reasons that's one thing. But delaying just for the model year imho is just denying yourself a few more weeks or months of driving the best car made to date. I sold my previous S, a 2013 P85+ for almost the same amount that a 2014 variant was worth with the same mileage etc. The only reason I got slightly less was not because it was a 2013, but because a few options came out later in 2013 such as automatic collapsing side mirrors that my vehicle did not have. In fact that car had a few features that were discontinued and no longer available, such as the leather 3rd row which imho were much nicer than the fabric only variety.

I conceptually agree with what you are saying, that there is no difference between the cars between December and January, but I disagree that they would have the same resale value. If you have two perfectly identical cars in every way, except that one is a 2014 model year and one is a 2015 model year, there is not a single buyer that would choose the 2014 over the 2015, thus their value is not the same.
 

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