Special ordering a new car is supposed to mean that you get exactly what you want, usually within a couple of months. If you look back at the history of car manufacturing, you can read about several instances of people ordering very specific cars directly from the factory. Today it’s not that simple. Here’s what you should know.
You should know that you probably won’t be able to order a new vehicle during the last two or three months of the production year (those months usually fall between April and August). Although it does depend on the model and manufacturer of the vehicle, most production years usually end in the last few months of summer. Don’t plan to special order a new car during this time.
Many auto manufacturers produce their vehicles overseas. Since the vehicles must be shipped across the ocean after production, the standard two-month shipping time must be added to the two months it takes to special order (4 months total). Overseas auto manufactures prefer not to accept special orders on cars due to the length of time it takes to reach the consumer. In fact, these manufacturers may not accept special orders at all. If they do accept them, they’re often strongly discouraged.
When you’re thinking about special ordering a new car, keep in mind that some automakers force you to buy some options as part of a package. Toyota and Honda, for instance, are famous for making customers buy certain options in groups – a lot of times they won’t sell you a car with a sunroof unless you buy the “sunroof package.” The “sunroof package” might include leather seats and an upgraded stereo, in addition to the sunroof itself. Don’t want the leather or the stereo? Then you might not be able to get a sunroof because these features are “packaged.”
If you just have to have a specific feature, then you should special order a car. You must realize, however, that doing so may decrease your vehicle’s resale value. When you order a vehicle that’s truly special and unique, it could be difficult to find someone who wants to buy your car later. People want cars that look like all the other cars out there. Consider this before you order features that make you car really different.
Finally, before you special order a new car, consider buying a car off the lot. Although you may have to compromise on things like features or color, you will probably get a better deal. Most of the time, buying a car from the lot is the best deal. Dealers pay interest on all the cars on their lot, so they want to sell those cars quickly as possible. If they don’t, their inventory costs them quite a bit of money in finance charges. So dealers will discount what they have now before they discount something two months out.
In other words, new car dealers are more interested in selling the inventory they have on the lot right now than the inventory they’re going to get in two months. Auto maufacturers don’t want to honor any special requests – they’re too hard to produce and they take too much time. So, if you’re thinking about a special order, remember that ordering a car isn’t what it used to be.