Cars

Carmax cites service, parts issues for temporarily dropping Tesla

Thousands of used cars are looking for a driveway to call home on CarMax lots across the United States, and some of them are electric, but none are manufactured by Tesla. It hasn’t always been that way. Digital Trends reached out to the retailer and learned why it shunned the California-based automaker, and what it plans to do about it.

Data compiled by Thinknum Media reveals CarMax had hundreds of Tesla models in its inventory in early 2019; it listed 343 cars in February, an all-time peak, but that figure gradually dropped over the following months. It offered 75 cars for sale in April, 48 in May, 17 in July, and it cleared Tesla from its inventory in September of that year. That’s not due to a company policy; CarMax explained to Digital Trends it experienced issues with the brand.

“CarMax does not currently have Teslas available for sale. We were selling them but stopped for a period of time due to Tesla service and parts issues,” a spokesperson clarified. The representative wouldn’t provide details about the types of issues encountered, and Digital Trends reached out to Tesla, but the company chose not to tell its side of the story.

Build quality has improved significantly since the Model 3 entered production in 2017, and Tesla offers one of the most generous warranties in the automotive industry, so I don’t think the problems CarMax alluded to in its email relates to reliability. However, getting a Tesla repaired is easier said than done due to part supply issues that are well documented on the company’s official forum and elsewhere online. Spending weeks waiting for a car to come back from the shop is annoying for a private motorist, but it could turn into a financial nightmare for a dealership.

“We expect to begin selling them again in the future,” the representative told Digital Trends. The spokesperson declined to reveal precisely when the Model 3, the Model S, and the Model X will return to the CarMax inventory.

In the meantime, there are several other ways to buy a used Tesla. Many dealer- and privately owned examples are listed in the classifieds around the United States, and Tesla keeps a well-stocked fleet of certified used cars.

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