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I am trying to understand what am I paying for when I purchase Tesla based on monthly instalments in Poland.

When I try to pre-order Tesla Model 3 in the US site everything seems simple and self explanatory. Basic model price (in cash) is $48,440. I can choose between lease and loan and:

  • Lease option is 36 months * $499/mo + $4,500 down, so $22,464. That's 46% of a cash price (less than a half of the car's value) so I can easily figure out that this is a typical long-term rent and that I am not an owner of the car after three years period ends.
  • Loan option is 72 months * $690/mo + $4,500 down, so $54,180. That's 112% of a cash price, so I can also easily figure out that this is a typical bank loan where I have a cash price credited + approx. 10-11% bank provision and that I am car's owner after six years period is over.

So far so good. Things gets a little bit complicated when I do the same on a Polish site.

Cash price is 244,990 PLN and leasing is the only option. However lease option is 48 months * 2,810 PLN + 48,998 PLN down, so 183,878 PLN in total. That's 75% of a cash price.

Am I getting things correctly that over a period of years I am going to pay 3/4 of the entire car's initial value and I will have to return it, because I am not an owner? That sounds like a kind of absurd for me.

Are my calculations correct? If not, what am I missing? Is there any reasonable person out there who would be accepting such a deal?

Paying less than half of a car's initial value for using it over six years is something that I can understand. Paying 75% of a car's value to be able to use if for over four years only is something beyond my imagination.

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    Perhaps there's simply less demand for second hand Teslas in Poland. Jul 22, 2022 at 20:48
  • Why is paying half of the value over three years more acceptable to you than paying 75% over 4 years?
    – D Stanley
    Jul 22, 2022 at 21:32
  • In US you can't buy the car post-lease, but in Poland you can, so that probably factors in somewhere. US has a tax credit that you can get if you purchase an EV but not if you lease, so that likely lowers the lease price a bit here (the lessor gets the credit).
    – Hart CO
    Jul 22, 2022 at 21:40
  • Any chance the lease includes insurance? Insuring a Tesla in Poland might be expensive.
    – TooTea
    Jul 23, 2022 at 15:26
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    I don't know anything about the car market in Poland, but in several other EU countries it is common for car lease contracts to require a really generous comprehensive insurance policy. That policy might be included in the lease or you might have to pay it separately. That's why I asked.
    – TooTea
    Jul 24, 2022 at 12:40

2 Answers 2

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There are two factors in the leases that you don't show (or don't know): The residual value (how much you'd have to pay to keep the car after the lease period), and the effective interest rate. I don't know what interest rates are in Poland, but if they are higher than the US that would certainly account for the higher total amount.

I think your analysis is too simple - you're effectively borrowing the value of the car, minus the down payment. The total amount that you pay relative to the initial value will go up the longer the loan, all else being equal. In other words, the longer you make payments, the more interest you'll pay and the more you'll pay above the amount that you borrowed. So you should expect to pay more for a 4-year lease than a 3-year lease, relative to the initial value.

Leases are generally the most expensive way to operate a car. You're essentially renting the car for the lease period - you can't sell the car without buying out the lease. It's unfortunate that it's the only way to get a Tesla where you're at.

Also note that with the 6-year loan., you are the owner from day one. You can sell the car to anyone you want with no restriction, other than to pay off the loan with the sale proceeds.

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  • Thanks for a comprehensive answer that actually explains all. Just to complete it. You're correct that I don't know the residual value for the lease option, because (correct me if I am wrong) Tesla simply doesn't have it. Neither in the US nor in the PL market.
    – trejder
    Jul 24, 2022 at 11:43
  • You're of course and obviously correct that lease is the most expensive plan to operate a car. That's why here in Poland for the past 3+ years they've come with a third option: rent (a combination of lease and loan). The difference is that you can buy up your car at any moment during the lease (rent). You only ask lending company what is the actual price you'd have to pay to end the rent program and become car's owner.
    – trejder
    Jul 24, 2022 at 11:44
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    "It's unfortunate that it's the only way to get a Tesla where you're at." - then, @trejder, do be aware that you don't have to get a Tesla! You could get a different car. (I suspect trejder knows that and is just comparing different kinds of cars. But just in case)
    – user253751
    Jul 25, 2022 at 16:41
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You calculated 75% of the cash price for a 4-year lease in Poland, vs. 46% of a cash price for a 3-year lease in the US. But if you calculate a theoretical Polish 3-year lease it comes out to 59% of the cash price.

This is not so far off from the US price. Higher leasing costs in Poland may be attributable mainly to higher inflation and interest rates as well as more uncertainty about interest rates and inflation for the Zloty vs. the US Dollar, over the next 4 years. From Tesla's point of view, what is the cost of the currency hedge they must purchase (in Euros or USD) to hedge the stream of Zloty payments that you would make?

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