Update February 15th, 5:55 PM: Tesla has reversed the changes on its website with regards to service plans, saying customers can continue to transfer them when a car is sold. See our full post for more. The original article below has not been modified.
In a quiet update to its policies, Tesla has raised prices on its after-sales service options, and — more significantly — now prevents new Tesla buyers from transferring their extended warranty and prepaid service plans when reselling the car.
By far the biggest change, at least as far as the impact on Tesla buyers goes, is the ban on transferring Tesla's extended warranty and prepaid service plans to a new owner when selling a used Tesla. Owners of those plans can cancel and get a pro-rated reimbursement when selling the car, but they can no longer transfer it when selling the car. Previously, transferring those warranty and service plans to a new owner cost $100.
factory extended warranties can't be transferred when selling a used Tesla
Then there are the changes to service plan pricing. Tesla recommends Model S and Model X owners have their cars serviced every year or 12,500 miles. Previously, Tesla owners could prepurchase the annual servicing for $1,900 for 4 years or $3,800 for 8 years. Now, those same services cost $2,100 for 4 years or $4,000 for 8 years. It's only a $200 increase on an $80,000 car, but they've still gone up. Free wheel alignments are also no longer included in the yearly maintenance.
could hurt Model S resale values
It's hard to see these changes as anything but negative for new Tesla buyers — those who bought older versions of the plan can still transfer these plans when selling their cars.
It's possible that this could impact the future resale value of Tesla's cars because buyers won't be able to include a multiyear factory warranty when selling their cars after 4 years or 50,000 miles of ownership. It may not matter much for most Tesla owners though, who are less likely to sell their car in a private sale.
these buyers rarely keep a car longer than 4 years or 50,000 miles
"Tesla has an affluent customer base, and these buyers rarely keep a car longer than 4 years or 50,000 miles," says Karl Brauer, automotive industry analyst for Kelley Blue Book. "By eliminating the warranty transfer option Tesla has largely neutralized the benefits of its extended warranty coverage. It lets Tesla technically offer longer vehicle coverage while exposing the automaker to minimal real-world cost increases... Bottom line, if you can't transfer the warranty, your options as a buyer are reduced."
The changes appear to have been made in the past week or so, and were verified by comparing old versions of Tesla's website to current versions.
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