Which Used Teslas Saw the Highest Demand in January?

By Julie Blackley

The Tesla Model 3 and the Tesla Model X are in higher demand in the used car marketplace than their competitors, while demand for the Tesla Model S has slowed, according to the newest iSeeCars analysis.

iSeeCars analyzed used car sales of the Tesla Model 3, the Tesla Model X, and the Tesla Model S to determine their average selling time relative to comparable luxury and electric vehicles. The Model Y, which debuted in 2020, was not included in the analysis due to used versions not yet entering the used car marketplace in high volumes. The analysis was part of iSeeCars’ Fastest-Selling New and Used Cars study, which analyzed over 1.2 million new and used cars sold in January 2021.

 “The Tesla Model S was once the fastest-seller amongst its competition, but demand has slowed because it’s an aging vehicle in its segment having only received minor cosmetic changes and software updates since its debut in 2012,” said iSeeCars Executive Analyst Karl Brauer. “Meanwhile, the newer Tesla Model X and Model 3 have sustained demand and the Model X capitalizes on the growing popularity of luxury SUVs, while the more affordable Model 3 makes Tesla ownership attainable to a broader audience segment.”  

Tesla Model 3: Fastest-Seller Among Competitors

The Tesla Model 3 takes 31.8 days to sell on average in January, which is 18.3 percent faster than the average vehicle that takes 38.9 days to sell. 
Used Tesla Model 3 Vs. Competitors: Average Selling Time in January 2021 - iSeeCars Study
Rank Vehicle Days to Sell (Average) Average Price
1 Tesla Model 3 31.8 $40,744
2 Audi A4 37.0 $25,404
3 Lexus ES 350/300h 37.4 $29,709
4 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 38.4 $29,479
Average for All Used Vehicles 38.9 $26,146
5 BMW i3 39.4 $19,630
6 Alfa Romeo Giulia 42.7 $26,892
7 Nissan LEAF 44.9 $16,371
8 Chevrolet Bolt EV 60.5 $17,616
“Deliveries for the Tesla Model 3 began in 2018 so there is still a relatively low supply of used versions,” said Brauer. “Demand has remained high for the Model 3, which had the highest number of preorders of any car ever produced, despite its average price being substantially higher than all of its competitors.”  

Comparable vehicles that also sell faster than the average vehicle include the second-ranked Audi A4, the third-ranked Lexus ES, and the fourth-ranked Mercedes-Benz C-Class. “Luxury cars are generally selling better than lower-priced mainstream vehicles because people who remain confident about buying a car during the pandemic have tended to be premium car buyers,” said Brauer. “Additionally, these are among the most popular luxury cars, and low interest rates are allowing consumers to buy more expensive luxury vehicles they otherwise might have avoided.” 

The electric Nissan LEAF and the Chevrolet Bolt EV stand out as the slowest sellers. “The Nissan LEAF was fully redesigned in 2018 to extend its range to 151 miles, further lessening demand of the previous generation models that had a shorter range of 107 miles,” said Brauer. “The Chevrolet Bolt has sold relatively well since it debuted in 2017, but supply has easily kept up with demand, allowing a percentage of used Bolts to languish on dealer lots.” 

Tesla Model X: Fastest-Seller Among Competitors

The Tesla Model X takes 31.6 days to sell on average in January, which is 18.8 percent faster than the average vehicle that takes 38.9 days to sell. 
Used Tesla Model X Vs. Competitors: Average Selling Time in January 2021 - iSeeCars Study
Rank Vehicle Days to Sell (Average) Average Price
1 Lexus LX 570 26.9 $70,987
2 Tesla Model X 31.6 $66,361
3 Land Rover Range Rover 34.6 $71,947
4 Cadillac Escalade 35.2 $54,250
6 Mercedes-Benz GLS 36.5 $51,821
7 Porsche Cayenne/Cayenne Hybrid 36.6 $58,498
8 Maserati Levante 38.3 $58,905
Average for All Used Vehicles 38.9 $26,146
9 Audi e-tron 40.6 $56,932
10 BMW X7 42.1 $73,002
11 Lincoln Navigator  46.7  $56,604
The Lexus LX 570 is the fastest-selling competitor to the Tesla Model X and takes an average of 26.9 days to sell. “The Lexus LX 570 is a full-size off-road SUV with a small but dedicated fanbase,” said Brauer. “It isn’t a high-volume vehicle leaving relatively few in the used car marketplace and more than enough buyers to keep them moving.”

The Tesla Model X sells in 31.6 days, making it the fastest-selling used Tesla. “The Tesla Model X was introduced in 2015, and used versions are still relatively rare,” said Brauer. “The Model X appeals to those who want the bells and whistles of a luxury SUV as well as wealthy buyers who want to lessen their ecological footprint.” 

Falling just below average is a second all-electric luxury SUV, the Audi e-tron. “The Audi e-tron just debuted for the 2019 model year, and it is still eligible for the $7,500 tax credit, which lessens the divide between new and used prices,” said Brauer. “Those who are interested in the car are likely buying them new.”

Tesla Model S: Fastest-Seller Among Competitors

The Tesla Model S takes an average of 40.3 days to sell, which makes it the only Tesla to sell slower than the average vehicle.
Used Tesla Model S Vs. Competitors: Average Selling Time in January 2021- iSeeCars Study
Rank Vehicle Days to Sell (Average) Average Price
1 Audi A7 33.3 $41,916
2 Genesis G90 37.4 $39,949
3 Lexus LS 500 38.4 $64,297
Average for All Used Vehicles 38.9 $26,146
4 Maserati Quattroporte 39.4 $50,739
5 Mercedes-Benz CLS 39.5 $54,368
6 Tesla Model S 40.3 $53,031
7 Porsche Panamera 43.3 $80,450
 

Three comparable large luxury sedans sell faster than the average used vehicle, including the first-ranked Audi A7, the second-ranked Genesis G90, and the third-ranked Lexus LS 500. “While mainstream large sedans have declined in popularity, demand for large luxury cars remains strong,” said Brauer.  

 The Tesla Model S ranks near the bottom of the list, taking an average of 40.3 days to sell. “The popularity of the Model 3 has tempered demand for used versions of the Model S,” said Brauer. “Tesla is set to give the Model S its first major refresh later this year, and some potential used buyers are holding out to see how well the updated version performs. When the updated Model S hits showrooms it will lead many current Model S owners to swap their car for the newer version, further adding to the used supply while reducing used Model S transaction prices.”

“Even as the Tesla Model 3 and the Tesla Model X remain in high demand the Tesla Model S has cooled off in the used car marketplace,” said Brauer. “It will be interesting to see if used car buyers favor the Model Y when more of them become available. And how much impact will the Model Y have on used demand for the Model 3 or Model X?” 

Methodology

iSeeCars.com analyzed over 1.2 million new and used car sales (model years 2016-2020 for used cars) from January 2021.The number of days that each car was listed for sale on iSeeCars.com was aggregated at the model level, and the average days on market for each was mathematically modeled. Heavy-duty vehicles, models no longer in production prior to the 2021 model year, and low-volume models were excluded from further analysis.

About iSeeCars.com

iSeeCars.com is a car search engine that helps shoppers find the best car deals by providing key insights and valuable resources, like the iSeeCars VIN check reports. iSeeCars.com has saved users over $265 million so far by applying big data analytics powered by over 25 billion (and growing) data points and using proprietary algorithms to objectively analyze, score and rank millions of new cars and used cars.