Several years ago, a friend turned me onto a book titled, Rich Dad, Poor Dad. It explained steps to add to your wages, above and beyond your 40-hour-a-week + job, by finding opportunities for passive income streams. In 2009, my husband and I ended up buying, fixing up, renting, and then selling a couple of house foreclosures after the market recovered. More recently, an idea came across my desk that I bet the Rich Dad author Kiyosaki hadn’t imagined with his original edition 25 years ago — passive income seekers could buy and flip EVs!
But it’s become a thing, and, as someone who’s very interested in everything electric, I find it a very appealing idea. How about you?
With delivery times for a brand new EV model up to 9 months, buyers are beginning to look elsewhere for an all-electric drive. They’re paying big premiums to skip the new car queue, even if it means settling for an EV that’s been owned — albeit very briefly — by someone else.
Many factors are affecting the ability of automakers around the globe to deliver new vehicles in a timely fashion. The industry lost 2.5 million sales in 2020 and another 2 million in 2021, so there are a lot of people waiting for a car. Vehicle inventory is still quite low despite the post-Covid shutdown production recoveries. Shortages and other supply-chain disruptions are expected to continue — to a lesser degree — until 2023.
Due to the ongoing inventory constraints, discounts from manufacturers continue to erode.
US new vehicle sales tumbled more than 21% in the 2022 second quarter compared with a year ago. Edmunds.com predicted that automakers would sell 3.49 million vehicles during the quarter, nearly 933,000 fewer than the same period last year.
JD Power estimates that the average sales price of a new vehicle for the first 6 months of the year hit nearly $45,000, a record that is 17.5% higher than a year ago. Thomas King, president of the data and analytics division at JD Power, states that, other than pandemic-affected 2020, this is the worst first 6 months’ sales volume performance since 2011. “However, from a profitability standpoint,” King added, “the first half of 2022 has set records for both retailers and manufacturers, as vehicle prices continue to rise, manufacturer discounts get ever smaller, and retailer margins set new highs.”
In other words, the average new vehicle transaction price is maintaining its upward trajectory.
Concurrently, inconsistent and still high gasoline prices triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have changed many consumers’ minds — suddenly, an EV sounds very good. Edmunds analysts advise car shoppers to temper their expectations for new car shopping deals for the rest of the year.
A used car shortage that swiftly followed the delays in new car production has catapulted the market value on pre-owned cars, according to cars.com. By the beginning of this year, the shortage effect was so dramatic that the price of some used cars approached their new counterparts. That trend keeps moving upward, with an unusual twist: some used EVs are exceeding their new car sticker price if it means quick delivery turnaround.
The idea to flip EVs is making more and more sense.
Aussies Decide to Flip EVs, Find Unlikely Fine Investments
One of the year’s unlikely best investments in Australia has turned out to be a new / used Tesla.
Demand is so high for used EVs in Australia that Lloyds Auctions is having problems keeping its inventory sufficient enough for consumers with an EV appetite. But what about slightly used versions of Tesla models? They’re available from several sellers across Australia for between $130,000 AU and $138,000 AU, according to carsales.com.au.
“We are telling anyone who might be considering selling their EV or hybrid vehicle, the time is now and we need your vehicle,” said Kirstie Minifie, local head of marketing and design for Lloyds, as reported by Teslarati. “We have seen second-hand electric vehicles sell for auction over the original retail price.”
While the value of used Teslas has also climbed in key markets such as the US, the price distortion has been especially severe in Australia, a country that has long been an EV holdout.
A top-of-the range Model 3 Performance costing $91,600 AU ($64,200) ordered in Sydney today would be delivered between February and May 2023, according to Tesla’s website. That’s a longer timeline expectation than in the US, Japan, and Germany. But a month old Tesla Model 3 with a scant hundred miles or so on the odometer is selling for around $130,000 AU ($91,000) or higher in Australia.
That’s about one-third more than the new Tesla Model 3 price down under.
Tesla’s EV sales are rapidly picking up off a low base in Australia and are set to catch up with sales of its Powerwall home batteries in the country, according to Tesla Chair Robyn Denholm. “We now have more than 26,500 Teslas on Australian roads, and the momentum is there,” Denholm said at the Australian Clean Energy Summit in Sydney in July. “I personally wouldn’t be surprised if we double that number by the end of the year.”
Australia makes up about 1% of Tesla EVs on the road, which totaled 2.5 million globally at the end of the first quarter of 2022. EV’s make up just 2% of new car sales in Australia. Those low percentages might not move too much, as governments around Australia are contemplating plans for an EV tax. Critics say it is a tax on clean air and will stifle economic opportunity.
Data recorded by the Electric Vehicle Council of Australia estimates the number of total Teslas sold locally in the past decade is 22,743. They note that a petrol car (11L/100km) costs $14 per 100 km in fuel image, while an average EV costs $4 per 100 km in Australia.
The biggest obstacle to more rapid uptake of EVs is the lack of fast charging stations, Denholm said, as reported by Reuters. To speed up the rollout of fast charging stations, transformers need to be added to the grid, a process that she said was very slow in Australia compared with the rest of the region.
“These chargers need to be rolled out without delay. This is the missing piece to mass EV adoption,” Denholm insisted.
Meanwhile, if you’re looking to flip EVs in Australia, carsales.com.au says there are 1010 EVs for sale in Australia as of this writing.
Final Thoughts about the Idea to Flip EVs
It’s been well documented that there are significant problems with the dealer sales model in the US and elsewhere. New EVs are in such high demand that few dealers are keeping vehicles around for test drives. Used EVs are often poo-pooed by sales staff, especially in light of today’s limited inventory.
Flipping cars involves paying attention to the market and capitalizing on profit potential. Study the used EV marketplace so your purchase is as affordable as possible — you, too, might find yourself waiting for just the right used EV. Once you take delivery of the used EV, watch resale prices and fair market values for the optimum point to sell.
Good luck, and have fun! Not all flips work out, but those that do really infuse feelings of accomplishment and increased financial security.
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