MotorTrend, the iconic 75-year-old car magazine, has been dipping its toes into online ventures and e-commerce recently. Next up: the used car business.
This week the auto publication — owned by Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) — launched the MotorTrend Marketplace, with over 1 million listings so far. Some 10% of the listings are actually for hybrids and EVs, whereas less than 1% of all vehicles on the road are electric. It turns out buyers still want them despite concerns like range anxiety and generally higher prices.
MotorTrend CEO Alex Wellen said search interest for EVs has spiked because prices have come down, as well as other improvements with the vehicles. “I think our top searches are for pure EVs, then it’s SUVs, and then it’s hybrids across all of our searches on MotorTrend.com.“
Interestingly, the MotorTrend Marketplace has a number of older EVs and hybrids listed for sale. There’s a Toyota Prius that’s more than 22 years old and a Tesla Roadster EV that’s more than 13 years old.
The Tesla landscape is interesting as well. MotorTrend said it has nearly 1,800 used Model S sedans for sale. Drilling deeper, the marketplaces’s sales data shows the Model S sedans take an average of 45 days to sell and are listed for as low as $14K, and there’s a model for sale with a whopping 300,000 miles on the odometer.
In fact MotorTrend says it has over 8,000 EVs on sale that have over 75,000 miles, and 800 with over 100,000 miles, which is notable given that high-miler EVs were thought to be rare, or at least decommissioned, because of fears of battery degradation. It turns out that that hasn’t been the case, and older EVs are still functional and ready for a new owner.
One big issue that has plagued EV owners recently has been dramatically falling prices in the secondary market; though good for buyers, it is terrible for owners. The latest example: Hertz having to liquidate some of its Tesla car inventory and take a write-down on the value of the cars following the steep price cuts implemented by Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk last year.
Wellen believes despite this, EV sales will continue to grow.
“The EV story around Hertz got a lot of attention, and understandably so. I think they had committed to buying many, many EVs, and that by having less EVs right now, [it] was really more about repairs to damages and the cost to carry those EVs,” Wellen said. “But in general, I think the signs are that more and more EVs are being sold, even though we’ve seen the growth rates slow a little bit, we are going to see double digits.”
While MotorTrend and Wellen believe EV sales will continue to grow, the question is: At what growth rate? After all, there are many buyers who are still not comfortable with them.
Wellen does offer a solution from the MotorTrend Marketplace, of course. “For those who don’t want to get to a pure EV right now, something like the Prius is the right car for the right time,” he said. It also just so happens that the Toyota Prius was named MotorTrend’s 2024 Car of the Year.
So not exactly a surprising recommendation, but one that gets the 75-year-old magazine’s stamp of approval.