Tesla Motors strives not only to build electric cars that compete against established luxury brands, but also to provide the service that customers in that market tend to expect.

However, there's one area Tesla hasn't gotten involved in so far.

Buyers looking for a used Tesla Model S electric car have had to turn to independent sellers--until now.

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The company quietly launched an online sales program for pre-owned cars last week, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The option to "Buy Pre-Owned" now appears on the Model S page of Tesla's website.

This takes buyers to a selection of pre-owned cars, which can be filtered by location, color, and model.

Tesla Model S pre-owned page screencap

Tesla Model S pre-owned page screencap

The cars available on the site right now include Model S 60-kWh, 85-kWh, and P85 models, many of which may have been traded in for newer, all-wheel drive "D" versions.

Each pre-owned car comes with a four-year, 50,000-mile limited warranty.

All of the cars listed have fairly low mileage--one example available at the time of publication had just 2,177 miles.

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While some owners have put their cars to rigorous use, the Model S has only been in production since mid-2012, so the "oldest" cars aren't really that old.

Buyers willing to forgo that new-car smell can potentially save a bit by going for a used Model S.

The selections for the San Francisco Bay Area included a 2013 Model S 85 with 13,036 miles listed at $65,150.

2013 Tesla Model S [photo by owner Gene Rubin]

2013 Tesla Model S [photo by owner Gene Rubin]

That's about $10,000 less than a new Model S 70D, although as a new vehicle that car is eligible for a $7,500 Federal tax credit and other incentives that the used model doesn't qualify for.

It is unclear how much profit will come from these sales.

The cars listed on Tesla's website last week were generally less costly than those listed on AutoTrader, or through independent sellers and dealers, notes The Wall Street Journal.

Tesla will group its inventory of used cars regionally, but won't necessarily stock its retail stores with them.

Tesla Model S at Supercharger site in Ventura, CA, with just one slot open [photo: David Noland]

Tesla Model S at Supercharger site in Ventura, CA, with just one slot open [photo: David Noland]

Instead, customers who order used cars online will have the option of picking them up at the nearest regional storage site, or having them delivered.

That Tesla is starting a pre-owned program now makes sense.

As more customers decided to trade in their current cars for newer Model S variants--and possibility the Model X crossover when it launches later this year--Tesla could find itself with a large supply of used cars.

Tesla now has an outlet for used cars, and a way to make sure that another aspect of the car-buying process meets its high standards.


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