"We decided we were wrong and other people were right and we decided to fix it."

A month ago, Tesla Motors announced what it called a "revolutionary" financing option, and waved some magic pixie dust around to come up with a monthly cost of like $500. Today, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced a bunch of changes to the financing options and to Tesla's online calculator to be more realistic and better represent people's real-world costs. Despite an early reshuffling of the numbers, Tesla got a lot of negative feedback regarding the pixie dust and today, Musk said, "We decided we were wrong and other people were right and we decided to fix it."

Here are some of the changes:
  • Most importantly, Tesla has raised the guaranteed resale value to be the highest of any luxury sedan made in volume. That means that a "leased" Model S will be worth more than the average resale value of all Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Lexus or Jaguar vehicles in the same price range (based on ALG resale value numbers).
  • In the online calculator, where Tesla talks about the "true cost of ownership," many defaults have been changed. The "time saved" option is now turned off, the expected gas price has been lowered, the MPG of the gas car has been raised. In short, the defaults are more conservative, but anyone can still enter any values that apply to them.
Tesla financing partners are now also offering longer-term loans (72 months instead of 63) that will "reduce the monthly payment considerably," Tesla says. Tesla's new numbers, featuring less pixie dust, are "a monthly rate of $580 taking only gasoline savings into account" and, if you buy the car for business and we assume that 70 percent of the miles are for business use, the "effective monthly cost" is just $315. Musk said he believes that financing (or leasing, as most of us call it) is the right way to buy an electric car because, "it really highlights the savings you get form gasoline every month."

Musk said that so far, around 20-25 percent of the Model S vehicles sold since the financing options were announced have been financed, and that he expects this number to jump to 60 percent or more in the future. Early birds who jumped at the chance in April don't need to fret, since the improvements to the financial offering will be retroactive to anyone who already took advantage of the Tesla financing.

As before, the value guarantee is backed by Musk's personal money and he remains as confident as ever that his company is on the right track. "If we really believe we are making the best car, it should have the best resale value," he said.
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Tesla Improves Financing Product with Best Resale Value Guarantee and Lower Monthly Payments
Friday, May 3, 2013

PALO ALTO, Calif.-- Tesla Motors announced today that it is raising the Model S resale value guarantee to be the highest of any premium sedan brand made in volume (excludes rare, low volume or limited edition vehicles). Buying a Model S through the Tesla financing offering now comes with a guarantee that the resale value will be higher than that of BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Lexus or Jaguar.

To protect people that have already purchased a Model S via this program, the guarantee will extend retroactively to anyone that made use of Tesla financing, created in partnership with US Bank and Wells Fargo, from when it was first announced on April 2, 2013. As with the prior resale guarantee, this higher number is also backed personally by Tesla CEO Elon Musk to give owners complete peace of mind about the long term value of the product.

"We appreciate the feedback from a number of journalists and customers that the first version of our financing product wasn't quite right," said Tesla Co-founder & CEO Elon Musk. "They were right, so we are fixing it and, moreover, upping the ante by providing the best resale value guarantee in the automotive industry. The Model S is rated by Motor Trend, Automobile Magazine and many others as the best car of 2013, so it should naturally therefore have the highest resale value."

In addition, our financing partners have agreed to provide longer term loans that reduce the monthly payment considerably. Those who buy the Model S electric car for personal use will now pay a monthly rate of $580 taking only gasoline savings into account. When purchased via a business, assuming 70% of miles are for business use, the depreciation benefit further reduces the effective monthly cost of owning a Model S down to $315.

For those in careers that have a significant cost of time, such as doctors, lawyers, consultants and executives, the Tesla financial calculator makes it easy to factor in the value of time saved by being able to use the carpool lane or avoid trips to the gas station. However, this is now selected off by default and the above numbers do not include any consideration of time saved.

About Tesla

Tesla's goal is to accelerate the world's transition to electric mobility with a full range of increasingly affordable electric cars. California-based Tesla designs and manufactures EVs, as well as EV powertrain components for partners such as Toyota and Daimler. Tesla has delivered almost 10,000 electric vehicles to customers in 31 countries.

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