Sometime last week, electric automaker Tesla changed its leasing policy and will now no longer allow customers taking delivery of a vehicle after April 15, 2022, to purchase their vehicle at the end of the lease. The change to Tesla’s webpage describing end-of-lease options for new vehicles was noted by several media outlets.
The website currently reads: “All Tesla vehicles delivered on or after April 15, 2022 are not eligible for purchase. Third-party dealerships and third-party individuals are not eligible to purchase leased vehicles.” Customers who had vehicles delivered prior to April 15 need to review the specifics of their lease agreement to see whether or not a purchase option is open to them.
Why would Tesla do this? It could be for a number of reasons. In 2019, Tesla did not allow end-of-lease purchases on the Model 3 sedan due to the company’s stated desire to get those vehicles back to launch a robotaxi ride-hailing service (that never materialized).
More recently, however, the spike in used-car prices and the concurrent shortage of vehicle inventory has made used vehicles extremely profitable on the resale market. Tesla could be contractually locked into selling a vehicle to a customer at a previously set residual value far below the current market value of the vehicle. That scenario would be fantastic for a buyer (especially if they’re looking to purchase and resell their used Tesla), but it’s money Tesla itself would lose.
According to the website, new Tesla lessors have three lease-end options: turn the vehicle in and walk away, extend the lease for up to six months or upgrade to a new Tesla.
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