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What You Need To Know About Special Ordering A New Car

"Have it your way." "Made to order." These are phrases our culture has come to embrace.

When it comes to buying a new car, I'm often asked about special ordering. People want a certain color, feature, or option that will make their car unique or better for them. Unfortunately, when it comes to cars, it's just not that simple. Here's why. Usually automakers will not accept new vehicle orders during the last two or three months of the production year. Production years usually end in the last few months of summer, depending on the model and manufacturer.

This means that they won't take orders between April and August, the last few months of the production year. Prime car selling season, the time of year when the deals are best, happens to coincide with most order blackout periods. So, you often can't special order when the deals are best. 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." Special ordering a car doesn't always make the most financial sense. If there's a special feature or package that you absolutely have to have, than by all means do a special order. But when you order a specific feature or package, try not to order something too out of the ordinary because it will effect your resale value.

If your car is too unique, you may not be able to find a buyer when you're ready to sell. People tend to buy vehicles that are similar to the other automobiles on the road, so don't order a car that's so different no one will want it. 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. It used to be that you could special order whatever kind of car you wanted, but those days are fading fast. Dealers want you to buy what they have, auto manufacturers often don't want to honor special requests, and shipping times and production cycles have conspired to make ordering cars very difficult.

Special ordering just isn't what it used to be.

Author Jason Lancaster, an auto business veteran, developed AccurateAutoAdvice.com. You'll find accurate advice on ordering a new car and how much to pay for a new car.



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