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A new car price tag is nothing to sneeze at for most Americans. Many people need a loan to buy a new car and many auto manufacturers have their own financing company to fill that need. Tesla, however, does not have its own financing company, and Tesla itself does not offer loans. So why can you still apply for Tesla financing for Model S and Model X? And how could you get Tesla Model 3 financing? Answers are below.
Tesla itself does not lend money to car buyers. Instead, when you apply for Tesla financing, what’s really happening is that you’re applying for financing through Tesla, not from Tesla — and if you think that’s confusing, you’re not alone. But it’s similar to what happens when you apply for auto financing at many other car dealerships. Most often, the car dealership is not the one lending you the money; it only helps you secure financing from another lender, like Chase® or US Bank.
You can apply for Tesla financing on new Model S and Model X vehicles.
There is no stated minimum required credit score to apply for Tesla financing, but borrowers with credit scores in the good to excellent categories (720+) generally qualify for lower-APR financing. If you don’t know your credit score, you can check it on LendingTree.
Tesla Model 3 financing and used Tesla financing. If you are looking for Tesla Model 3 financing, or financing for a used Tesla, you’ll need to secure your own loan and not go through Tesla. You could see what your bank, credit union or online lender offers.
Shop around. Whether you apply for Tesla financing through the dealership or not, a good way to make sure you get the best deal on a car loan is to shop around. Many Tesla owners on forums say they were able to get better auto loan rates through their local banks and credit unions, rather than through Tesla.
It does not hurt your credit to apply to multiple lenders any more than it does to apply to one, as long as you do all applications within a rate shopping window (generally between 14 and 45 days, depending on scoring model). So get a preapproved car loan from your local bank or credit union, or through an online lender, and have it in your pocket as another financing option in case the offer you get via Tesla or any other lender isn’t as good.
Incentives on Tesla could add up to several thousand dollars, depending on when you get one. The full $7,500 federal tax credit has expired for Tesla, but buyers are still eligible for $3,750 in tax credits until June 30, 2019, which will then be halved again, to $1,875, before ending Dec. 31, 2019.
There are also state tax credits, exemptions and reduced rates in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. For more on Tesla rebates and incentives, you could check out how much a Tesla costs.
But if you’re looking for traditional incentives or rebates found with other carmakers such as discounts for teachers or members of the military, Tesla does not offer any special rebate programs for people in certain fields.
Certified pre-owned. Tesla is in its 11th year of car production. As the company and its products age, more and more used Teslas are available on the market. Like most car companies, Tesla offers certified pre-owned cars (CPOs). CPOs are used cars on which the original manufacturer slaps its seal of approval. This may be a good way for you to get a used, less expensive Tesla, while limiting the worry and risk of buying used.
CPO vehicles often come with a longer warranty than other used cars. You could consider adding a longer warranty from either the original manufacturer or a third-party company. For more information on the types of warranties and extended warranties you can buy, read this guide.
You must establish an online Tesla account and apply through that account. You can apply as the only borrower or with a co-borrower. You’ll need to decide which vehicle you want and for each person applying you’ll need to provide personal information and employment information.
Leasing can be optimal for your budget in the short term as leasing payments are almost always lower than purchase payments. It could also be less expensive in the long term if you would otherwise be buying a new vehicle every three years.
Tesla leasing is available in 39 states — Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming — and in Washington D.C.
Other potential ways to afford a Tesla include paying cash or getting an auto loan through another lender, such as a local bank or credit union or an online lender. If you are debating whether to pay cash or finance, consider doing half-and-half.
Again, it does not hurt your credit to apply for financing from multiple lenders any more than it does to apply to one, as long as you do all applications within the rate shopping window.
An easy way to compare financing offers is to fill out an online form on LendingTree and receive up to five potential auto loan offers from lenders at once, instead of filling out five different lender applications
Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning founded Tesla Motors in 2003, the same year General Motors scrapped its EV1, the first mass-produced electric vehicle for passengers. Founding a startup on an idea that was deemed unprofitable by GM, a giant of a company, may not seem like the smartest idea. Yet, rather than make an electric car for the masses, Tesla’s goal was to make an elite electric sports car: the Tesla Signature Roadster, priced at $100,000. GM’s EV1 price was set at $34,000.
In 2004, Elon Musk became Tesla’s chairman and one of ultimately five co-founders by investing more than $7 million. But even following such investments, Tesla’s past and continuing progress is a bumpy ride. Even now as a public company, Tesla doesn’t turn a profit.
Yet Tesla’s revenue from car sales has been increasing to the tune of at least $2 billion a year and the company’s underdog start-up story has helped make it and Musk media darlings with a cult following.
MSRPs in the article are accurate as of the date of publishing.
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