Can I Buy A Car From The Manufacturer
A build-to-order vehicle from the manufacturer ensures you get the exact car, color and option combination that you want, and it's a little-known method to save time tracking down a vehicle that fits your needs. This special-order vehicle, as it is sometimes called, is usually arranged at the dealership, but for some brands, ordering online is the only way to buy. It is also a way to circumvent "market adjustments," aka dealer markups, which have become all too common these days. While you may not necessarily get a discount with a custom order, you could very well get a better deal than if you bought off the lot.
can i buy a car from the manufacturer
So what's the catch? You'll need patience for the process since it can take between six and eight weeks for a domestic-built vehicle, roughly three months for a vehicle built overseas, and even longer than that if you want an electric vehicle from a lower-volume manufacturer such as Tesla, Lucid or Rivian. In Griffith's case, he was told about three to four months, and his Subaru was delivered near the end of that timeframe.
Your local dealer will be the one who actually places the order with the factory and will be your point of contact throughout the process, from taking your order to setting up delivery. As such, choose your dealership and salesperson just the way you would if you were buying a car off a lot. Read reviews and talk to friends who have bought there to ensure you're going to have a smooth experience.
Custom ordering a highly anticipated all-new vehicle can also be difficult due to limited supply. Also, the dealership may not have a say in which versions of hot vehicles it receives. The manufacturers will look at the sales records for the previous model years and allocate the vehicles accordingly for the initial shipment. If the dealer near you underperformed on the sales of a particular vehicle, it likely won't be allocated as many of the newer models.
A factory-order car, direct from the automaker, is something of a rarity in current times. A number of states prohibit a manufacturer from selling directly to customers without a franchised dealership. Tesla, Rivian and Lucid are a few brands that currently adopt this method.
Don't get too carried away with the options: Think twice before checking off every item on the options list. Doing so will cost you more now, and when you sell the car, you probably won't recover the extra cost. If you care more about getting exactly the vehicle you want than you do about its future resale value, there's no problem. You just have to realize that your specific tastes might not be shared by the car-buying public a few years from now.
Plan ahead: If you plan carefully, your vehicle will arrive just as you sell your old car to a new owner or as you wrap up your lease. Few of us purchase a car on a whim or must replace our current vehicle in a matter of days or weeks. If you plan ahead, you don't have to worry about compromising on the car you want. This is also the time to look into what you need for financing. Try to prequalify for financing from your bank or credit union. In many cases, the automaker's finance arm can offer a better rate, so ask your salesperson about that too.
Find the right dealer: When you order a vehicle, your relationship with the dealer becomes critical. This is the organization you'll be talking to throughout the process, from taking your initial order to setting up delivery. If it is a good dealership, it will keep you updated on your order's progress without your having to reach out. Choose your dealership just the way you would if you were buying a car off a lot. Read reviews and talk to friends who have bought there to ensure you're going to have a smooth experience. Make sure you have a salesperson who is knowledgeable about the process.
Make sure the deposit is refundable: Most dealerships will require a deposit when you're ordering, which could range from $100 up to $1,000 or more. Note that if the vehicle has an unpopular configuration and you change your mind, some dealers may elect to hold the deposit until the car is sold since they now have a hard-to-sell vehicle in stock. With Tesla, for example, a reservation is refundable, but an order fee is not.
If you are patient with the process, ordering your next vehicle from the factory can be a rewarding experience. Just make sure you understand what's involved, order carefully with a trustworthy dealer, and negotiate as if the vehicle were on the lot. Then you can enjoy the purchase of a car that was built just for you.
But there is another way, one that has been popular in Europe for years: you can order your car from the manufacturer rather than buying from the dealership's available inventory. This strategy is so common throughout the world that Mercedes-Benz announced it's closing 10% of its showrooms globally (though not in the U.S.). The German carmaker is going to aim for 80% of its sales coming through this agency model, as it's sometimes known, by 2025. Brands under the Stellantis umbrella, will be making a similar move in Europe. Volkswagen and Audi are already selling electric vehicles through the agency model, like their EV rivals Tesla, Rivian and Lucid.
Ordering from the factory is a little different from the home deliveries dealerships were offering during the pandemic and continue to offer in some areas. Many dealerships were allowing shoppers to buy vehicles that were on the lot, much as you would do in person. Custom ordering means that the car doesn't exist until you place your order and it's entered into the schedule at the factory where that model is built. Then they build it just for you, according to what you ordered.
Choose Your Dealership: In nearly every case, a dealership will act as a middleman between you and the manufacturer. Check reviews of local dealerships and choose one to work with for this process. Good communication is especially important when ordering a car that's going to take some time to arrive.
Configure Your Car: This step is probably the most fun. Most manufacturers have a configuration tool on their websites that allows you to choose the colors, trim, engine, transmission and features that you'd like. Remember that this is a real car that costs real money, so be mindful of your budget.
Learn the Cutoff Dates: The dealership or manufacturer should be clear about cutoff dates. When do you have to finalize your order? How far along in the process can you request changes? When is the last day that you could back out of the sale completely? Will you lose your deposit at that point?
Prepare to Wait: You'll typically wait about eight weeks for cars built in the U.S. and three months for cars built outside the country. Remember, though, that supply chain shortages don't only mean fewer cars on the lot; they also mean fewer parts for those cars at the factory. You might need to wait longer. Ford will allow you to follow your car through the process as soon as it's been assigned a VIN. Some manufacturers, such as Toyota, allocate cars to order rather than build them from scratch. That means that you configure your car, and they find a model somewhere that matches your specifications. Then they ship that car from wherever it might be to a dealership near you.
Be Ready: You'll want to be prepared to take delivery of your new car as soon as you can once it's arrived at the dealership. You might need to head to the dealer to finalize the paperwork, or they may have a system to allow you to finalize the sale online and have it driven from the dealership to your home. Depending on the terms in your contract, the dealership could try to resell it if you let it linger on the lot.
Can you order a car straight from an automaker? Yes, you can configure it to your specifications and order it from the factory. Some automakers make it easier, some harder. And for almost all brands, the purchase will still involve a car dealer as a middleman in the transaction.
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