It’s True — My Tesla Model 3 Has Not Appreciated In Value


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A writer recently pointed out that Elon Musk promised five years ago that Tesla vehicles would appreciate in value, and they have not.

At first, I was thinking, “Well, it’s a bit early to cover this,” but then I realized, it really isn’t. When I bought my Tesla Model 3 SR+ with Full Self Driving (FSD) in mid-2019, one of the reasons was that I wanted to jump into owning a Tesla with FSD before it was too late, before Tesla made too much progress on this and the cost to buy FSD was through the roof. In theory, once Tesla cracked them FSD puzzle (in two weeks or so), I’d have a robotaxi and my car would be much more valuable than when I bought it.

Indeed, back in 2019, Musk said, “If you buy a Tesla today, I believe you are buying an appreciating asset, not a depreciating asset.” You can say, “okay, fine, but FSD has taken longer to master than Musk anticipated and the prediction could still come true in the next few years or so.” That’s the optimistic take. But even with that take, how many people who bought a Tesla in 2019 still have that car? I know people who bought one and had it totaled in an accident. I know others who passed theirs on to their kids, or who just traded it in for a new one, or who sold it and got a different EV. Did any of those people end up with an appreciating asset? Definitely not! Those cars lost a lot of value between the time they bought them and the time they parted with them.

I’m one of the buyers in 2019 who still has my Tesla Model 3. Nearly five years after purchase, my car has lost more than half of its value — according to Tesla. I always planned to keep the car for a long time, but then I was tempted by a trade-in opportunity Tesla offered last year to transfer FSD to a new Tesla, so I looked into trading it in. Well, Tesla was going to give me $20,000 or less for my car, which had an order price of $47,190, or $41,190 if you subtract the $6,000 FSD that was going to be transferred. That ain’t no appreciating asset.

Many new car buyers keep their cars for five years or fewer. Clearly, such buyers have not benefited from their vehicles being jaw-dropping appreciating assets. If I hold onto my car for another 5 years, will Tesla finally nail FSD and will my 2019 Model 3 become worth more than $47,190? I’m starting to think that may not be the case. Tesla has been offering discounts and various deals quarter after quarter in order to stimulate more sales. As it’s been doing so, that’s been driving down the value of my Model 3 on the used car market.

Was I naive to think a Tesla could be an appreciating asset in 5 years? Clearly! Were many others in my boat? Admit it or not, they definitely were. Was Elon Musk irresponsible making such claims? Probably.

I’m sure some of you would love to comment on this, so come along and join in.

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