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2012 Model year Produced in 2013?

Excuse me in advance if this has been covered, the forum has no way to search for previous posts, as far as I can tell, so go easy on me ;-)

Just completed my paperwork and the ETA provided is Feb/March of 2013. What I found surprising is that even though it won't be produced and delivered until 2013, the model year on the paperwork is a 2012.

My question/observation is two-fold.

1. Wouldn't a vehicle manufactured in 2013 actually be a 2013 model year product?
2. For pure resale value, if my vehicle is produced and delivered in 2013 but carries a 2012 model year, I've basically lost one full year from a resale perspective upon delivery of the vehicle.

I can understand buying a 2012 model in 2013 from leftover dealer inventory, and getting a deal relative to the fact that it is one model year old at that point, but buying a made-to-order vehicle produced and delivered in 2013 with a 2012 model year?

Doesn't make sense to me and I am wondering if there is anything that would prevent Tesla from calling it a 2012 given its production date...

Have any 2013 model year customers asked this question before and if so, what was Tesla's response?

Thanks in advance.

The Tesla distribution model has no concept of a car rotting in a dealer's inventory and becoming outdated. I don't think anyone buying a used Tesla will be ignorant enough to get the wrong impression based on 'model year'. Tell them it's a Model S version 1.0!

Tell any potential buyer the car number off the line. That's more informative than the year IMO.

As much as I would love to say that Tesla is breaking the mold from tradition when it comes to automobile manufacturing, I still venture to guess that in the used car market, values will still be based on model year as it is driven today by Kelly Blue Book, Edmunds, etc.

Years down the road is when it is going to count, and given the "industry norm" for resale values, regardless of # off the line, I think it will still be viewed as a 2012 vehicle.

There's a reason Tesla included "model year 2012" on the paperwork instead of Vin # X or Version 1.0, so I guess I am hung up on the old school model year designator when I'm spending over $100K on a "year 2012" model built in 2013...

It's a valid point. Has anyone talked to Tesla about this issue?

I don't think Kelly Blue Book will be able to list this like every other car. I suspect it's more like the way some software has been designated. E.g. Windows 95, 98, 2000 etc. The number "2012" does not correspond to the year the car was built or delivered, but to the version of the car.

The next distinct version of the Model S might be 2014 or 2015, who knows?

Personally I'm not too worried about it. Save your paperwork - anyone who buys your car in the future will have all the information they need if they know your res# and vin.

I agree with edhtesla - I assumed all cars were 2013 (the sites I have seen (kbb, edmunds) only list 2013 Tesla Model S.
I would suggest you email George B.( I would if I had my MVPA. Please share the reply you get.

So when my new Tesla is delivered, by blue book value, I'll be driving a 14-15 month old vehicle based on the year of the vehicle and standard resale value calcs. I'd love to say that in 2014 a 2012 Tesla with 25000 miles on it that was built in 2013 will be worth the same as a 2013 Tesla built 3 months later with the same 25000 miles on it, but the resale value tools won't take this into account. It WILL be worth less as it will be deemed 1 full model year older.

It's no different than buying a 2012 Chevy this month versus a 2013. The 2012 is worth less than the 2103 no matter what (which is why dealers are making deals on leftover 2012 inventory).

I'll send George B. this question and will post back what the response is, if any.

@edhtesla | OCTOBER 25, 2012: What I found surprising is that even though it won't be produced and delivered until 2013, the model year on the paperwork is a 2012.

You can try putting your VIN number into a online VIN decoder. For example, . The model year is in the 10th digit of the VIN. See

What feels odd is the comparison to the usual practice by the biggies. They announce 2013 models in July 2012. But by federal law, auto companies are allowed to produce any given model for 2 years, from 6 months early to 6 months late. I think TM sold its investors the notion that the S would be a 2012 model, which it can sell thru June 30, 2013.

From George B:

"All cars built in 2013 will be 2013 model year cars."

Apparently the Purchase Agreement we've signed will be followed by a final Agreement, which will reflect the VIN number and appropriate model year based on when the car was finished production.

You can go to the 10th digit of the VIN#. That is always the year model of the car.
For Example:
2010: The letter "A"
2011: The letter "B"
2012: The letter "C"
2013: The letter "D"

If your 10th digit is a "C", you have a 2012 regardless.
I do agree that by this time of the year, these cars should be 2013's. Frankly, by not delievering cars until June of this year, everyone of them should have gone out as a 2013. Somebody slipped on this one, unless to say that after 7 months of delieveries, they are successfully in the 2nd year of production.

I am of the opposite opinion. I want my year to be a 2012 for resale value. I want people to know I had one of the first models that ever came out - hence mine is a sig performance. But truly, I never plan on selling, will pass down to my children.

As usual, George B. is extremely responsive and helpful. Thanks for posting his response. I think Tesla will likely follow the calendar for model year decisions in contrast to other companies.

I fully agree with edhtesla comments about resale in future. A buyer is not going to ask what the VIN # is. Edmunds or Kelly Blue book as he said goes by year / mileage / condition to assign value.

Many other car makers begin selling their 2013 models as early as June 2012 while TM might be still selling new 2012 models as late as June 2013. So basically the way it is setup now is that you could receive your new 2012 in June 2013, while your neighbor gets a non-Tesla 2014 model the same day in June 2013. It is an unfair competitive advantage to non-Tesla owners when reselling since Tesla so far is assigning model years this way.

I spoke to repr a month ago on this very issue and he said year is assigned when they are actually built. So I thought some folks would get a 2012 delivered 12-15-12 while others delivered on 1-15-13 would get a 2013 model. Doesn't seem fair but there has to be a cut off point I understand.

But nor is it fair that non-Tesla models have the advantage over TM in this regard since Tesla has a different philosphy of assigning model years (which all cars should follow-when it was built, that year) I hope TM can level the playing field regarding assigning model years to allow us to a equitable sale to a buyer when we upgrade to newer TM models!

TM needs to address this issue since resale value is important to buyers spending so much money. I don't want a 2012 year on my registration if it gets delivered in 2013. Even if they stick to year built is model year, it is still 6months older than the nonTM models sold when they resell their cars. Pls clarify this issue for us all TM. Thanks.

I placed my order two weeks ago and asked the same question. The rep told me since there is no change to the car from one year to the next it's not designated a model year, just production year. Makes sense but I agree will be confusing to the public.

I recall on the big factory tour event last year, they said cars made in 2013 would be 2013s, which is the same as George is saying. But they also have the concept of a version number. So it's a 2012 S1.0. I may end up with a 2013 S1.0, and someone next summer, a 2013 S1.1 (do not have any info to lead me to believe they will do minor version numbers. Just made that up.)

The 'competitive advantage' is imaginary. Model S resales will establish their own market values. The year number will have little impact once the calendar year concept sinks in.

@ DavidG

"But by federal law, auto companies are allowed to produce any given model for 2 years, from 6 months early to 6 months late."

Don't know about that...I ordered a 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid in February 2009 (they started building them in January 2009) and it was in my hands June 6th, 2009.

Imagine you are in the market for a used Tesla Roadster. Are you really going to get hung up on which 'model year' the car is? I would look at what's out there and check the mileage and accident history vs what I could afford. With all the factors that go into the buying decision, I don't think model year is that important.

As far as standards such as KBB are concerned, it's all about researching actual sales and comparing your car to the set of cars that have previously been sold. As Brian H said, they establish their own market and values as they are sold.

I bought my 2003 Model and Year Honda Accord at the dealer, brand new, off the showroom floor in November 2004, the opposite extreme of sagebrushnw. I did that because back then, Honda's trim and look was the same, every 4 years they would change it and 2004 was the first change to the Accord so I knew it would look new for a while and was able to negotiate a nice discount based on it's Model Year.

I did the same with my wife's 2003 Acura (bought it in 2004).

So, you bought fake current model year cars? For shame!

I do hope Brian H and EcLectric are correct in their analysis and that the year on my registration will NOT make any difference when I go to sell it: whether it is a 2012 delivered Dec 2012 or a 2013 delivered Jan 2013, given same mileage, features etc. It just seemed to me that most buyers of cars are willing to pay more for and want the newest year model when given a choice between the two.


You find a beautiful 2012 Black 85kWh loaded Model S.
You then find a Loaded 2013 Black Model S 85 kWh with the same miles, and similar condition, except the 2013 has 5 more months of warranty. They are both priced the same. Which one do you buy?

That is exactly the reason the 2013 will be worth more money. Probably at least $3k-$4k more. Those are just the facts, but I don't think that is the reason that people are jumping in now. I would think their excited about having one of the few Model S's on the road, and hopefully in the car for the long haul. As years go by, the dollar difference will be less.

But that (the warranty remaning) has nothing to do with the model year, you have to look at first registration date. A nice 2013 that is 5 months younger than another nice 2013 would have the same advantage and should command the same premium. At least that's how I'd see it.

+1 lgagliardi

Just what I was thinking :)


I disagree with your suggestion that a cars resale value can be determined by a calculation tool.

The value of anything is only ever determined by what somebody else is willing to pay for it. The calculation tool just gives you an estimate.

If the potential buyer(s) at time of resale are more interested in the potential (future) vintage value of the car, then they may well value a 2012 model higher than a 2013 model.

If on the other hand, the potential buyer(s) are more interested in present value, warranty, etc... then they will probably value a 2013 model higher.

I disagree with you edhtesla completely. It is just reality guys. Say what you will. After 30 years in the High End and Exotic Car Business, its spelled out very plainly. Year newer, more money assuming options, and miles are even up.
The 5 months difference in warranty would be a fact since 13 models come out in January. Track the history of cars, and resale. It is what it is.If its about vintage, typically the last year the car is produced is generally the one that bring the highest value. Not the first year. Having sold more than 10,000 vehicles myself, I stand on my previous statement. These are not one off cars, or very limited production vehicles. They are everyday drivers. Everyone is entitled to there opinion. I don't take that away from anyone, but these are meterial facts. Time will tell the same story again.

Typical conversations at a dealer:

Trading-in or selling a used car:
Dealer: I can give you $5000.
You: But Kelly values it at $7000!
Dealer: Then you go and sell it to Kelly.

Buying a used car:
Dealer: The price is $9000.
You: But Kelly values it at $7000!
Dealer: Then you go and buy it from Kelly.

So I also think the market will establish the value of the used Model S. The typical used ICE car buyer will probably look at the model year. The typical used Model S buyer would be of the same stock as the participants in this forum, so I would expect them to be informed and look at the relevant information.

Year newer - yes, year produced... but there is no model year for Model S... Model Year is another gimmick of the traditional auto-manufacturers to squeeze a few more bucks for a few insignificant new bells and whistles.

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