Ordering a Car from the Factory
The answer is yes - in fact about 15% of all buyers special order their vehicles. But the truth is, you can't actually order a vehicle yourself, you still need to do it through a dealer.
AdvantagesObviously, one of the biggest advantages to special ordering a vehicle is that you'll get to equip it with the exact options and colors you desire.
Some types of vehicles, such as pickup trucks, come with so many different options and configurations that it's impossible for a dealer to stock them all. You may have a difficult time finding some obscure option installed on the car you want - and special ordering may be the only way to get it.
Another benefit to ordering your car directly is that the dealer may offer you a better deal. It's an easy sale for them and they won't have to incur any financing costs for keeping the car in inventory. This is especially true if you're wanting a hot-selling car that's in high demand. If you're willing to special order it and wait for delivery, you'll likely get a better deal.
One of the biggest issues with ordering a car from the factory is the wait time. It can sometimes take several months to get the car delivered, and oftentimes, you won't have any idea when that will be.
In a worst-case scenario, the unions may go on strike and shut down production. You could end up waiting a few extra weeks or even months.
Another disadvantage is that you may not get the same incentives being offered at the time you placed your order. Incentives are applied when the car is delivered - so if the manufacturer decides to discontinue their rebates while your car is being built, you're out of luck.
If you have a trade-in, the car will likely have to be re-appraised when the new car is delivered. If the wait time has been months, your used car may have dropped in price by a good amount. I recommend that you don't involve a trade-in if you're going to order a car from the factory.
Finally, special ordering is usually limited to the domestic brands. You can order a foreign car, but the dealer will just simply try to fill your order with the closest match instead of actually having your car custom built at the factory. BMW is an exception - they're currently testing out made-to-order vehicles for some of their models.
My Recommendation for Car ShoppersTrueCar No-Haggle, Edmunds Price Promise and 1-800 Car Show are the quickest way to see the lowest car prices in your area. These sites show you no-haggle prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually really good. This should be the first step you take when negotiating your car price. Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.
- Gregg Fidan
About: Gregg Fidan
Gregg Fidan + is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.