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Tesla Model S Buyback Program Designed to Lure Roadster Owners

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author photo by Jeffrey Archer October 2012
  • Roadster owners can trade for a Tesla Model S.
  • The buyback program gives trade credit.
  • Interested drivers can act immediately.

Tesla is launching a new program that encourages current Roadster owners to trade in their electric two-seater for the brand's new Model S sedan. According to Tesla, the program allows Roadster owners to get credit for trading in their sporty convertible--and that means some owners could walk away with a Model S and several thousand dollars.

While other automakers offer similar trade-in programs, Tesla's situation is unique. That's because the California-based EV manufacturer values even the oldest Roadster models at more than $70,000--far higher than the $57,400 base price of the Model S. So what happens if a customer wants to make that swap?

"In that case, we'd write you a check," said Tom vonReichbauer, Tesla's director of finance, in a San Francisco Chronicle story on the trade-in program.

That means Tesla owners interested in swapping their Roadster for a Model S could walk away from a Tesla store with both a brand new electric car and cash that could easily break into the five-figure range. But while that might seem like a backwards deal for Tesla, the automaker ran the numbers, and it expects to come out on top. That's because the now-discontinued Roadster still has a strong following among enthusiasts, meaning the brand can resell the car for even more than it pays to buy it back from a customer.

While Tesla will profit from the resale of a used Roadster, the customer who traded it will likely be happy, too. That's because he or she will be swapping the spartan Roadster sports car for a more luxurious sedan, complete with appointments befitting luxury brands like Lexus, BMW and Mercedes. With a maximum electric range of up to 300 miles, several versions of the Model S also boast a longer range than the Roadster, which was capable of travelling around 240 miles on a single charge.

Roadster owners interested in swapping for the Model S can contact their local Tesla store immediately, as the highly anticipated sedan is officially on sale nationwide. While base versions of the Model S start below $60,000, the sedan's pricing can run well into the six-figure range for its upscale Performance trim.

What it means to you: Although the Tesla Model S is still in high demand, Roadster owners interested in swapping out their sports car for the more practical sedan can do so with Tesla's new buyback program.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Tesla Model S Buyback Program Designed to Lure Roadster Owners - Autotrader