The Pros and Cons of Ordering a New Car Directly From the Factory

Buying a new car is supposed to be an exciting experience, after all, you’re getting a shiny new set of wheels that has everything that you’re looking in a car including being the right color and having the right features. But what if the dealer that you’re working with can’t find the right car that you’re looking for, even from another dealer? In that case, you’ll either have to wait it out or you can possible order one from the factory. Here are some pros and cons of choosing the latter.

Do all manufacturers let you order directly from the factory?

During your car shopping process, you’ve probably logged onto various automaker websites and configured the perfect car. Afterward, you were most likely shown all of the nearest dealerships in your area and were instructed to make an appointment with one of them. But why can’t you just order a car right there and then?

Unfortunately, unless you’re ordering a Tesla, car manufacturers make you go through an actual dealer to special order a car from the factory, and even then, not all manufacturers allow you to do it. A lot of domestic manufacturers, like Ford, do, as do luxury brands like Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Lexus do as well. However, if you want to order a car from Honda or Acura, for example, then you’ll have to be part of their queue for inventory allocations, which occurs once every quarter.

What are the pros to ordering a car directly from the factory?

If you are able to order a car directly from the factory, there are some definite advantages to doing so over picking one that is sitting on the dealer’s car lot:

  • You’ll get the exact car that you want in the right color and complete with all of the right features and packages.
  • You might get a better deal on the car as the dealer won’t have an extra car sitting in the lot, which they have to pay for. Also, since you’re ordering a car, then your deal is an easy sell, so they could cut you a break.
  • Lastly, aside from the detailers and the salesperson that get the car ready for you when it arrives, you’ll be the only person to ever sit in the car, as no one else has test-driven it.
Workers assemble cars at a Toyota factory
Workers assemble cars at a Toyota factory | TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP via Getty Images

What are the cons of ordering a car directly from the factory?

However, for every advantage, there is a disadvantage. And when it comes to ordering a car directly from the factory, there are a few disadvantages:

  • Wait time: If you order a car, then it could take about 6 to 8 weeks for it to get built and delivered to the dealership. So if you need a car now, then you’re better off finding one in the dealer’s stock.
  • Your trade could drop in value: If you do decide to wait for a car to be built since you currently have a car that you’re planning to trade in, then your trade could lose its value during the time that you’re waiting for the new one to be built.
  • Special ordering is usually reserved for domestic and luxury brands. However, other brands might do it as well, just be sure to ask the salesperson.
  • You might not get all of the incentives: As mention above, it is possible for a dealer to give you some of a discount if you order a car, but you might also miss out on some current incentives that the manufacturer has for other trim levels of that same car.
  • You usually have to put down a non-refundable deposit: Some dealers ask for a $500 deposit, while others might as for as much as $2,500. While the amount can vary, some dealers may ask for some kind of a deposit to ensure that you’re going to buy the car when it arrives. After all, they don’t want to order a custom-built car only for you to back out on the deal and then be forced to sell it on their lot. Other customers might not like the same features you do, so it could take longer to sell that car as well.
two people work in factory to assemble the hood of a Ford truck
Workers assemble cars at the newly renovated Ford’s Assembly Plant in Chicago, June 24, 2019. – The plant was revamped to build the Ford Explorer, Police Interceptor Utility and Lincoln Aviator. (Photo by JIM YOUNG / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP via Getty Images)

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Should I order a new car directly from the factory?

If you have the time to wait for a new car to be built and can live with the fact that you might not get as low of a price as you would for an “in-stock” car, then it’s worth it to order a new car from the factory. But if you can settle on a car configuration that’s easier to find and would like all the discounts that you can get, then try finding one on the dealer’s lot instead.