That's really the gist of this article. The punch line. The moral of the story.
For those who are skeptical, I will go ahead and explain why many consumers have found that the best way to get the lowest price, the most for a trade-in, and all the options you want is by custom ordering your vehicle. The problem for most people is that we are a "NOW" society. Whenever I ask people about ordering, I often here this:
"Why would I want to wait for something when I have one close to what I like right here?"
I respond by saying, "Because you'll save $X if you can wait Y few months." In this equation, X is usually between $1,000 and $7,000 and Y is 2-6 months.
There are 3 ways that people save money by ordering their new cars instead of buying one from the lot or having it brought in on a dealer locate.
-- 1) Pay for what you want, not what you don't.
With many manufacturers that have a wide assortment of options available, consumers are at the mercy of ordering managers who put together configurations they think can sell. There is usually a "mix report" that they get that says that 30% should have moon roofs, 10% should be standard transmission, etc., but these reports are very general.
Why pay $195 for satellite radio when you just need an MP3 jack at no extra charge?
Why settle for your second choice of colors?
Why do you have to live without the reverse sensors just because a vehicle on the lot comes close?
It's you money, and a lot of it. Why not get every single option you are wanting without paying for an option that you will never use?
-- 2) Incentives now, incentives later -- your choice
Most manufacturers are going towards "now or then, whichever is better" incentives on ordering. In other words, you can order a vehicle based upon the incentives that are available when you place the order. When the vehicle comes in, you have the option of taking the old incentives. If the cash back or rate or whatever incentive is better now, you can take those. Your choice.
This is not universal (yet). Please check with your dealer to make sure it is available for the make and model you are considering. You can compare incentives from different manufacturers at Automobilemag.com.
-- 3) Dealers charge less for ordered units
This is one of the (strangely) best kept secrets in the car business. People are often led to believe that custom ordering costs extra. This is absolutely not true for most manufacturers. If it isn't true, then why are consumers led to believe this?
The answer is simple. Like the consumer, car salespeople and their sales managers are "NOW" people. They don't want to wait a couple of months to get credit for a sale. With today's car sales environment being as fickle as it is, a salesperson might not be at the same dealership or even in the car business at all when the ordered vehicle arrives. They want commission, and they want it this month.
Most dealers pay interest in new cars that sit on the lot past a certain point. With ordered vehicles, they won't sit.
Dealers pay insurance, lot fees, and other miscellaneous costs to keep a vehicle on the lot. With ordered vehicles, they won't pay these fees.
When someone orders a vehicle, they have no risk because they are now a "middleman" facilitating a transaction. They connect the customer directly to the manufacturer, perform the necessary tasks and paperwork, and cash the check in the end.
Most will order vehicles at invoice minus rebates. Many will dip into holdback. Dealerships like Enid Oklahoma Used Cars are happy to make a few hundred or more for being a deal facilitator.
Trade-Ins can be tougher, but they just take a little research. Again, there are 3 options for a consumer and their dealer:
-- 1) If a consumer can trade now and has backup transportation while they wait, this is the best option.
-- 2) If the dealership will "rent" or "loan" a vehicle to you in the meantime, it could be costly but still worth it. A consumer may wonder why they wouldn't just keep driving their trade-in. They could (which will be discussed below) but it is easier to lock the trade-value in stone, and then pay a flat rental fee.
-- 3) Keep driving it, but with pre-agreed upon stipulations. This part can be tricky and not all dealers are willing to play along. If your trade in is worth $X today, it should be worth $X minus depreciation when the vehicle arrives,
This part is very important: FIRM UP what depreciation will be. Do not order a vehicle and let them reappraise your vehicle when the ordered vehicle arrives without some agreed upon idea of what it will be worth. Put it writing that "in early June through mid-July when the vehicle arrives, I should have X more miles on it, not added body damage, and all necessary maintenance will be done."
I strongly recommend against option 3, but if it must, it must.
The key to getting the best deal on a new vehicle is planning and patience. There is literally thousands of dollars that can be saved if a consumer is willing to stare into the face of the dreaded best known as "Waiting" and never, ever blink.
Then again, the best advice I can recommend is to just buy preowned at places like Chicago Used Cars. A low mile used vehicle will save you more money than any new vehicle ever will.