The captive, called Tesla Finance, will offer leases to small and medium businesses, along with two products the carmaker debuted last year: loans and a Resale Value Guarantee.
Tesla touts its three-page lease agreement ― compared with 10-page documents from some other lessors ― as a differentiator. The document can also be completed electronically, matching the company’s cutting-edge image. At delivery, the signature process requires a one-button tap on the 17-inch touchscreen in the new Model S.
In April 2013, Tesla partnered with U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo & Co. to create a loan-lease combo offering for qualified buyers who make a 10% down payment on the electric Model S sedan and sign up for a 66-month loan. After 36 months, customers can sell the Model S back to Tesla for the same residual value percentage as the Mercedes S-Class. With the Tesla financing, consumers can use federal and state tax credits to recoup some ― or all ― of their down payment costs.
Creation of the Tesla captive was prompted by requests from customers in small and medium-sized businesses who “have been asking for a leasing program for the ease and simplicity of being able to deduct the payments from their business taxes,” according to a company release. Specifically, “business customers can easily see upfront their monthly cost of leasing while configuring their car on our website,” the company said.
Tesla, which bypasses franchise dealers to sell directly to consumers, has been embroiled in a legal battle in New Jersey. Earlier this month, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based carmaker appealed a ban by the N.J. Motor Vehicle Commission to sell its cars in the state.
Led by Elon Musk, an early investor in PayPal and founder of space-exploration company SpaceX, Tesla plans to boost production 56% this year, amid exports to China and brand expansion in Europe.