Saturday, June 23, 2012

Custom Ordered Cars – Worth the Hassle?

Most buyers get their hands on a new car in the same way. That is, they drive down to their dealership of choice, choose the car they want, go through the purchase process and then drive away in their new ride. Of course, it’s not always this simple. Some would-be owners find that they just can’t seem to locate the car they want anywhere, on any dealer lot. Automaker websites show a variety of unique colors and package options that might not be available in your area. What are you to do? Custom ordering is the answer, but is it really worth it?

What Is Custom Ordering?

Custom ordering a car is exactly what it sounds like. And, contrary to what you might have been told, it is possible, and it’s available from virtually all automakers. However, it’s not as cut and dried as just sending in an order form and then driving off in your new vehicle when it gets delivered to the dealership. Also, don’t believe the hype that custom ordering costs more – you can get the same pricing on a custom ordered car as one the dealer has on the lot (you might sacrifice some negotiating power, though). There are a few things you need to know.

Some Dealerships Balk

First, you’ll find that while the automaker might be happy to supply you with a custom ordered automobile, the dealership you choose might not be so happy about it. There’s a good reason for this. If you don’t like the car when it arrives and cancel the order, then they’re stuck with a car that was tailored for you and will have very little chance of selling to someone else. However, custom ordering is possible, so if this is what you want to do, stick to your guns and find a dealer willing to help. Be prepared to put down a significant deposit, though.

Is It Right for You?

While some folks might be fine driving whatever they find available or what’s most popular on the market, some drivers aren’t willing to compromise. Perhaps you want a specific color or trim option. Maybe you want a unique set of wheels coupled with a different interior choice. Regardless – custom ordering is the way to go.

Of course, you’ll need to exercise patience here. Custom ordering takes time – usually a pretty good chunk. Most automakers require 8-12 weeks to deliver a custom order, and that time can be increased depending on a variety of factors. So, if you’re hoping to put in your order and have your car in a week or two, it’s time to rethink that stance. If you can wait that long, then go ahead and order, but if the thought of waiting a minimum of two months doesn’t work for you, it might be time to reconsider compromising on what you want.

A Few Notes

While placing an order with a willing dealer is really all there is to the process, there are a few things you need to bear in mind. First, make sure you’re working with a good dealership. They’re going to be integral here, and you want a company you’re happy to work with. Second, make sure that the deposit the dealer requires is refundable – this protects you in the case that you change your mind about the purchase. Finally, make sure you get everything in writing from the dealer, from the options and paint to the promise of your deposit being refundable. Without proof in writing, it’s just your word if something goes wrong so take the time to ensure that you’re protected.

Custom ordering a car can be a very good thing for buyers willing to exercise patience, but it’s certainly not a process that’s ideal for everyone.

Don Elfrink is the owner and operator of AutoMatStore, an auto flooring company based out Columbia, Missouri. Before AutoMatStore Elfrink was the operator of a automotive production site. AutoMatStore focuses on all-weather, logo, carpeted and molded car mats.


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