Tesla looking ahead to certified used car program for Model S

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Few people associate Tesla Motors with the classic shady dealings of a used-car lot, but the electric-vehicle maker may be moving in that direction with its Model S. The California-based company very publicly guaranteed buying back its electric sedans from any owners who wanted to get rid of them after three years of ownership. The first of those vehicles could start rolling back in as early as spring 2016, Automotive News reports, which is why Tesla is working on a certified pre-owned vehicle-sales program.

In the spring 2013, Tesla guaranteed that it would buy back three-year-old vehicles for at least 43 percent of the car's sticker price, and Tesla Chief Elon Musk personally guaranteed that he would fork over the requisite cash for those cars himself if the company failed to do so.

The upshot is that used-vehicle sales tend to have higher margins than new-car sales. The flipside is the sticky issue of direct-to-consumer vehicle sales, which many states bar because of existing franchising and distribution laws. Those laws would apply to Tesla's used-vehicle sales just as they do to the company's new-car sales, so the recent decision in Massachusetts could have an impact in more ways than one.

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