Manufacturer custom orders

How long before a major car manufacturer offers an on-line ordering of a vehicle that will then be built to order? This will allow one to get the exact vehicle with the features wanted and not loaded up with features not wanted. Credit card deposits can reduce the risk for the manufacturers.

You are posting to the wrong place. Those kinds of questions should be directed at the manufacturers.

You can have vehicles “built to order” within certain parameters now, but at the dealership. You can search for vehicles that match what you want over the internet from several source right now.

If you think you will be able to order something really unique that doesn’t appear on a dealer’s lot like a blue car with tan interior, diesel engine with a manual transmission in a wagon, think again. That is never going to happen for a lot of reasons.

I agree with Mustangman. Tailoring cars to hundreds or thousands of different tastes would slow the production line down and no car maker is going to accept that.

An example might be the now defunct GM plant in OK City where mostly SUVs were built. At the time of closing it was stated that both Ford and Chrysler averaged about 17 hours for the construction of one SUV.
The GM plant was averaging 21+ hours for each SUV.

Think about the cost per hour X thousands of vehicles and it’s not hard to see why it would never work.

That plant was opened with a lot of fanfare and a fortune in tax breaks. Once opened it was constant squabbling, strikes, and sabotage.

In the 1960’s I know for sure it was possible to order F100’s to a custom order. You’d arrange that through a Ford dealership at the time. A fairly long wait was involved from what I recall, maybe 6 months? So I agree w/Mustangman and OK4400, either the manufacturer or the dealership is the place to ask this question. If such a thing is even possible in these modern times, the answer probably varies from model to model.

last time I spoke to one acquaintance of mine, who is religiously buying BMWs, always the latest model… so, his point for ordering a custom color and some custom options always was simple: if ou buy one of standard ones, it will be manufactured in South Africa, if you order a very custom options set - it will be assembled for you in Germany

that’s OK for the overpriced luxury like BMW, but I’m not sure how much longer (if ever?) the mass producers will take to go there

Car companies spent decades learning to standardize option packages in order to insure profitability. GM used to have so many options that complicated things. Customers would order things that were impossible to assemble because they wouldn’t fit on the dash together. People were angry because their car, if possible to make, took forever to arrive. Automotive hell. Some Avantis were custom made but were kind of expensive. Nice looking cars for years after Studebaker was finished.

Yeah as far as being able to pick and choose every little item, some features just need to be packaged together for production efficiency plus materials requirement planning. I’ve special ordered cars and really its a little too complicated without some assistance from a dealer. There are just things that dealers keep up on, not to mention that they do the tracking of the order from production to delivery. Why would one want to spend $50,000 on the internet with no involvement of a specialist? Its not like ordering a sofa or something. Computers are nice but I just fail to see the point.

Even when you could special order a car (Maybe you can still do it now?), it would take months to get it. Most people don’t want to wait that long.

I strongly suspect that today, it is easier and faster to select the color and the options you want, and have the computer find one as close as possible within the existing inventory - and that’s good enough.

You can still do custom orders today. It’s not done most of of the time, but it’s not unheard off by any stretch either. The wait time varies wildly on the make and model, For domestics the wait time is typically 3 months or so. For European makes, it’s a bit longer, 4-5 months. In Europe it’s far more common for the customer to order their car, rather than pick one off the lot. I know that Japanese makes tend not to make that many variations of their cars, for a given model, you have a few different trim levels, and maybe 3 option packages and that’s it, there are relatively few individual factory options, this streamlines production. The European makes tend to have few trim levels but lots of optional features to select from, and the U.S. is sort of the middle ground.

My last 3 vehicles were all special-ordered, and it took about 3 months to get delivery of them.

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I wonder if the OP thinks he can save money by special order . I doubt it as most manufactures have discounts on packages that let you have them for less than if you checked option boxes. The other thing is that you could actually hurt your resale because you might not have certain things that people expect to have with other features.

In the past I have had 3 custom ordered cars; a 1965 Dodge Dart, a 1984 Chevy Impala and a 1988 Chevy Caprice. Dealers don’t like doing this since it takes about 6 weeks to get the car and they would rather sell something off their lot.

In Japan this has been a long standing practice. Because of the high cost of real estate and the very rapid turn around of production schedules, a Japanese customer typically looks at sample vehicle in the showroom, might test drive one and then puts in his order. It takes a couple of weeks, much shorter time than here.

My last special order was a 1992 Saturn. Took 8 weeks, I think. There were few free-floating options as most were tied to Option Package 1 or 2 or 3.

I ordered a 1983 Firebird at a time when nearly ALL options were free float. That’s why the car had power windows but manual locks. I was dumb to order the car that way!

Back in 1969, the Chevy Impala sold about 700,000 cars. There were at least 5 different engines, alone, with multiple variations within each engine. There were so many free float options available that every-single-one of those 700K cars could have been different!

Henry Ford proved that wasn’t the most cost efficient way to build cars as far back as the Model T!

IMO, there is no reason to pay more for a special order car as long as the buyer is willing to treat it as if the dealer is ordering another spec vehicle. The buyer would have to wait for the next time the dealer orders cars, and wait for delivery. If it doesn’t cost the dealer extra, he should be happy to get the car off the lot the day it is delivered. That way there are no carrying charges paid to the manufacturer’s finance arm. For that reason, the dealer should be open to the best discounts. To do this now would mean waiting for the 2019 models, since there is not enough time before the manufacturers shut down for annual plant maintenance.

Tesla’s approach of selling their cars directly was met by countless lawsuits and lobbyist pressures to strengthen/pass legislation specifically prohibiting it. Turns out there are state statutes in many states prohibiting the direct sale of cars to consumers. I happen to find that fact appalling, but realize that the issue is complicated.

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If the manufacturing plant is automated enough - it’s not difficult to do and doesn’t slow the line down one bit. I took a tour of the Corvette plant several years ago. It’s very automated and custom orders didn’t phase the line one bit. In fact one custom order vehicle was being built in front of us.

There are stages of the process that will be more impactful than others. The final assembly is probably the least impacted once the material is staged and ready. But consider the paint line. They are not going to break down the line and prep for one oddball car coming through. That’s where the delays come in. Your special car is waiting for the opportunity when there is a current run of that color being done. There are other points in the process that have similar impacts/delays. All depends on how common the “special order” options are as to how much disruption or delay is involved.

That was addressed at the Corvette plant. Because the cars were all different colors. Not too sure you can order a car that’s not part of the color palate.

If you want to have some fun go to the Porsche 911 configuration site and look at all the options. Thousands of possible combinations.

The problem isn’t the technology involved in manufacturing orders with different options. The problem is the idea of buying directly from the manufacturer. In too many states statutes passed by dealer lobbies have prohibited direct automobile sales/purchasing transactions.