How to Order & Negotiate a Factory Order Car

Special order car being built in factory

Sometimes, no matter how far you expand your search, you cannot find the vehicle of your dreams at a dealership. Clearly, the manufacturer makes the car, which is why you see it on their website, but it's nowhere to be found on the dealer's lot.

The disappointment of not being able to find the exact car you want at a dealership leads many people to wonder if they can order a car directly from a factory.

Luckily, you can order a car from the factory, but you'll still need a dealer to do so.

Here's everything you need to know about purchasing a car from the factory and how to negotiate the best price.

Factory or Special Ordering a Car Video

What is a factory order

What Is a Factory Order?

A factory order, also known as a special order, is when a car buyer orders the exact vehicle (color and features) they want. Most times, you'll be able to select the details of the vehicle online and then place the order through a dealership or third party. It's important to note, you cannot order the car directly from most major car manufacturers, you'll need a dealer or third party service.

Reasons to Order from the Factory

Reasons to factory orderThere are some situations in which it makes the most sense to order from the factory. If you cannot find the color or options from a dealer and really want those exact features, you'll want to order from the factory. Those who use the car for business use or in a fleet of vehicles will often need a certain color to match.

Benefits of a Special Order

There are several benefits of ordering directly from the factory including:

  • You get the exact options and colors you want.
  • Special ordering could be the only way to get the unique configurations that you are looking for.
  • Avoid paying for the features you don't want or need.
  • Access to a vehicle with little or no inventory available.
  • The dealer may be able to get you a better deal since it's an easy sale for them and they won't have the overhead costs of keeping the car in inventory. You'll be more likely to get a car that's in high demand for a better deal if you can wait.

Considerations for Factory Ordering a Car

What to consider when placing a factory orderJust as there are great benefits to ordering your car from the factory, there are also some drawbacks. Here are some factors to consider:

  • The wait time is much longer than buying from a dealership.
  • Incentives are applied when the car is delivered, so you will not be able to get incentives from the time you placed the order. Since you won't always know how long it takes to get the car, you can't be sure which incentives will be available.
  • You will need to get a trade-in re-appraised upon new car delivery, which means that the value could go down. It's best to keep trade-ins separate from a factory order.
  • Special ordering is limited to domestic brands (except for BMW).

How Long Does a Factory-Ordered Car Take?

How long does a factory order takeAs mentioned previously, one of the biggest downfalls of special ordering your car is the wait time. It takes significantly longer to get your factory-ordered car than it does to buy a vehicle off of the lot. Typically, it will take 5-8 weeks, but wait times can be as long as 12 weeks in some cases. Unfortunately, you typically will not know what the wait time will be when placing the order.

Factory Order Wait Times by Manufacturer

Below is a table showing how long you can expect to wait for a custom factory order car:

ManufacturerHow Long Does It Take?
Acura3-8 Weeks
Alfa Romeo10-14 Weeks
Audi6-10 Weeks
BMW5-8 Weeks
Buick10-15 Weeks
Cadillac6-8 Weeks
Chevrolet10-12 Weeks
Chrysler4-12 Weeks
Dodge4-12 Weeks
FIAT4-12 Weeks
Ford8-12 Weeks
GMC10-15 Weeks
Honda6-8 Weeks
Hyundai4-8 Weeks
Jaguar12-24 Weeks
Jeep4-12 Weeks
Kia6-12 Weeks
Land Rover12-24 Weeks
Lexus10-14 Weeks
Lincoln6-8 weeks
Mazda5-12 Weeks
Mercedes-Benz12-24 Weeks
Mitsubishi8-12 Weeks
Nissan8-12 Weeks
Polestar16-20 Weeks
Porsche12 Weeks
RAM4-12 Weeks
Subaru4-12 Weeks
Tesla4-8 Weeks
Toyota8-12 Weeks
Volkswagen4-8 Weeks
Volvo5-8 Weeks

What if I Can't Wait For the New Car?

There are times when you need a new car immediately, and cannot wait an undetermined amount of time for it. If you are in a pinch due to the situation of your current vehicle or some other reason, special ordering may not be the best option for you. Instead, you should consider compromising on color and some options or drastically expanding your search to other dealerships around the nation. Check out our post for tips on how to buy a car out of state.

How Do I Order a Car from the Factory? (How it Works)

Here are the steps and tips for successful special ordering:How do I place a factory order

  1. Decide on the model, color, features, etc. that you want. Consider what's most important to you without getting too carried away. Keep in mind that less popular options won't add to the resale value in many cases and you will not recoup your money for those kinds of choices.
  2. Plan ahead. Since you know it can take several weeks or months to get a special order car, you'll need to plan carefully if you have a vehicle to sell.
  3. Go through a third-party service or a dealer to place your order. Read dealership reviews and talk to several options before choosing the one you'd like to work with.
  4. Negotiate the car price. We will break down negotiation in the next section, but you should negotiate the price of the car as if it were on the lot.
  5. Confirm a refundable deposit. You will have to pay a deposit when you order, and you'll want to make sure this deposit is refundable.
  6. Written agreement. Complete a written agreement based on the details you've discussed and ensure it has the correct information before signing.

Is It Cheaper to Buy a Car From the Factory?

It can be less expensive to purchase a car directly from the factory for several reasons.

Doing so cuts out many actions and expenses that the dealership normally undergoes. By eliminating the need for overhead and dealership insurance, you open the door for better negotiation.

Additionally, you won’t need to pay for features that you don’t need or that the dealership may have ordered. You can “build to order” the vehicle, only selecting the features that you need and want.

Ultimately, ordering from the factory can help you avoid dealership markups.

Can I Negotiate the Price of a Factory Order Car?

Can you negotiate a factory order carYes! You should absolutely negotiate the price of your special order car. Make sure to negotiate before the order is placed, and negotiate as if the car were on the lot. Research to see what others are paying, and call 5-8 dealers for a quote. Remember that some brands only allow you to take the incentives at the time of delivery, while others will let you lock in rates when ordering and take a lower rate if there is one offered at the time of delivery.

If you are able to wait, factory ordering your vehicle can be a highly beneficial experience, allowing you to get exactly what you want. Be sure you understand the process first and only choose a trustworthy dealer. Negotiate the price of the car and then enjoy our custom vehicle!

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I buy a factory order car?

You can get exactly the color and options you want when you order from the factory, and you can often get a lower price since the dealer will not have finance charges. However, you usually can only get the incentives offered on the day of delivery and have to wait several weeks to months to get the vehicle.

Can I buy a car direct from the factory?

15% of buyers special order their vehicles. Technically, you cannot order the vehicle directly, you'll need to do so through a dealer.

Can I negotiate on a factory ordered car?

Yes, you should treat the negotiation just like any negotiation with a dealer. Call several dealerships for quotes and research what others are paying to be sure you get the best price.

Can I lease a custom ordered car?

Yes, in fact, custom ordered cars often make sense for people that lease. You know exactly when you'll need the car by and can more easily plan ahead to get the vehicle you want.

If you order a car do you pay MSRP?

The MSRP is what the manufacturer recommends retailers charge for the vehicle. When you factory orders, you can negotiate the price of the vehicle. Since the dealership adds on their markup and extra costs/services, you may be able to negotiate a better price below MSRP.

How do I find out what options my car was ordered with?

You can check which options your vehicle was ordered with by looking up the VIN. Provide the dealership with your VIN to learn more.

Is ordering a car more expensive?

No, ordering a car from the factory is not more expensive than purchasing stock. Oftentimes, you can actually save money by ordering a car.