Made To Measure For a abundant amount and a absolute fit, branch adjustment your aing car, van or truck.
(MONEY Magazine) – Imagine spending upwards of $20,000 and not accepting absolutely what you want. Well, back it comes to affairs a new car, that’s what some 90% of us do. And if you achieve for what’s at a adjacent dealership, you may end up not alone compromising on the blush or added appearance but additionally absurdity on accessories you don’t need. The alternative–asking the banker to adjustment a archetypal congenital to your blueprint at the factory–takes patience. Four years ago, I custom ordered my Ford Explorer because I capital fleet blue, a blush that’s not consistently accessible on the lot, and active boards for aggressive into the SUV. I didn’t apperception cat-and-mouse six weeks for delivery, but that adjournment is apparently what dissuades abounding car buyers from agreement a branch order.
Today, my delay would acceptable be beneath by a anniversary or two–or could alike be avoided. American auto companies are authoritative branch acclimation faster and easier; they are additionally creating new means to boutique online that, by absolution you chase for the archetypal you appetite at adjacent dealers, can amuse the aforementioned appetite to get absolutely what you appetite in a car, barter or van.
By aing March, Ford will action branch acclimation online through CarPoint, Microsoft’s car-buying website (www.carpoint.msn.com). You’ll be able to adjustment any Ford, Lincoln or Mercury archetypal with the exact options you want, and again clue the cachet of your adjustment at the armpit or by calling an 800 number. (You’ll still acquire to accommodate the amount with a dealer, who’ll bear the vehicle.) This arrangement may alike trim the commitment time of your adjustment from Ford’s accepted boilerplate of 38 days. CarPoint will be angry to Ford’s assembly database; if Ford is already architecture the agent you want, CarPoint can alter that archetypal to you.
Other manufacturers are advantageous new absorption to custom orders as well. In contempo years, the Chrysler ysis of DaimlerChrysler has become the fastest of Detroit’s Big Three at carrying new cars–a ancillary aftereffect of adopting a cost-saving, just-in-time account system. General Motors has aloof appear that the aggregation is belief means to acceleration up delivery, admitting no capacity are yet available. In the meantime, GM is the aboriginal automaker to let you chase online for the car you appetite from the inventories of the bristles dealers aing to your zip code. To do so, aloof go to www.gmbuypower.com. While abbreviate of a branch order, this arrangement increases your affairs of affairs a archetypal with absolutely the accessories you want. Early aing year, Ford will action the aforementioned advantage at CarPoint and at www.ford.com.
These developments, however, are bound to American brands. Toyota and Honda don’t acquire branch orders. If you appetite a German-made Mercedes or BMW, you’ll acquire to delay two to three months for delivery.
If you acquire the backbone for a acceptable branch order–which can potentially save you money as able-bodied as amuse your choosy preferences–the best time to abode one is appropriate now. Early in the model-year (which began Oct. 1), factories are in abounding production, yet December and January are two of the slowest auto-sales months. That boosts your affairs for a accelerated delivery. On average, an adjustment will booty from 32 canicule (Chrysler) to 54 canicule (GM), depending on the model. Abode an adjustment after than March, and you may acquisition yourself in the “buildout” summer appearance of the model-year, back beneath cartage cycle off the line. Here’s what you’ll accretion by demography the time for a branch order, additional admonition on how to cut the best deal.
Why a branch order. The No. 1 acumen is simple: You don’t acquire to compromise. No exceptionable adorning auto or super-audiophile complete system. Sometimes an adjustment is the alone way to get the options you want, back car makers address cartage to altered regions according to what bounded dealers apprehend barter to buy. “If you appetite a atramentous car in Florida, area the alternative runs to ablaze and ablaze colors, you ability charge to put in a branch order,” advises George Peterson, admiral of automotive ysis aing AutoPacific. By contrast, in New York City, atramentous is accessible to acquisition on a lot.
Eliminating exceptionable accessories can save you money as well. Sure, about anybody wants air conditioning, ability windows and a appropriate complete system. But let’s say you’re attractive for a accepted Dodge Intrepid sedan, which has a abject account amount of $22,085. If the alone red one with covering seats you can acquisition at a adjacent banker has a ability sunroof, that advantage will add added than $800 to your bill.
Another abeyant amount breach is alienated the costs that the banker incurs to accumulate a car in inventory, which he about passes on to the buyer. Back a agent sits on the lot, a banker pays $30 or so a day in absorption and insurance. If it takes a ages to advertise a car, that archetypal costs him about $900. A branch adjustment eliminates that expense–a accumulation you can at atomic partially reap.
How to adjustment direct. Back you abode a branch adjustment with a dealer, aim to pay beneath than the absolute balance amount for the abject archetypal and all the accessories you want. (To get those figures, go to www.edmunds.com or the Kelley Dejected Book site, www.kbb.com.) Let’s booty a 2000 Ford Taurus able with ability locks, front-seat ancillary air accoutrements and anti-lock brakes. The account amount would be $19,435; the absolute balance cost, $17,855. A acceptable adjudicator could get that car off the lot for $18,155 (before taxes and destination charges); with a branch order, you could pay as little as $17,655. That amount is $200 beneath the balance amount and a abounding $500 beneath what you would acceptable acquire paid for a Taurus off the lot.
Get the agreed-upon amount in writing, including a accouterment that it will not go up if the architect raises the amount while you wait–a common accident in the aboriginal three months of the year. You’ll acquire to accomplish a deposit, but don’t overpay. A bottomward acquittal of 2.5% of the amount is the acknowledged absolute in California–one of the few states to appoint on the topic–and a acceptable aphorism of deride elsewhere.
If you abhorrence haggling, you can custom adjustment through the Web affairs casework Autobytel.com and Carsdirect.com. If they can’t acquisition the car you appetite in inventory, they’ll custom adjustment it for the aforementioned no-haggle auction price. Affairs casework that arrangement with a banker on your account are additionally abnormally acceptable at putting in branch orders and will acceptable get you a lower amount than you would get on your own. Among the best are CarSource, (800-517-2277; www.carsource1.com; a $375 fee on average) and AutoAdvisor (800-326-1976; www.autoadvisor.com; $395).
Customize your lease. A branch adjustment is additionally a acceptable way to save on a lease. If you’re accommodating to delay eight to 12 weeks, for example, you can charter a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo for $398 a ages for 38 months. That charter is based on a factory-order amount of $28,853, which is aing to the dealer’s balance price. Charter from the lot, and your account acquittal for the aforementioned charter would be $496, d the banker sets the amount based on the $31,985 manufacturer’s appropriate retail price, the amount that dealers generally use. For a absolute account of accepted factory-order charter deals, go to www.leasesource.com, a armpit that offers such deals through an absolute leasing company.
Senior biographer Jerry Edgerton is the columnist of Car Shopping Made Easy. He can be accomplished at [email protected]
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