New car delivery run around?

So I’ve made my deal on a new 2010 Highlander in late Sep 2009. Dealer tells me the 10s will start rolling in approximately 2 weeks from then. Here I am end of Nov and still no car. Dealer doesn’t seem to have any idea or only a vague idea at best of where the car is and when it will be delivered. I was able to get a vin # out of the mgr but I can’t find anything about this car other than the vin does match a 2010 Toyota Highlander. The salesman tells me on Monday 23Nov that the car is on a truck coming up from New Jersey. Today (Fri) he tells me I don’t really know where it is, we go and get it from another dealer. I find this impossible to believe. If I buy a $30 book from Amazon I can determine exactly where it is at all times and I’m expected to believe a dealer can’t track a 30k car? I’ve only put down $200 after signing deal and I’m thinking about walking away from the deal as I don’t enjoy being lied to. I would have preferred they tell me, “I don’t know where the car is, not sure when it will arrive” rather than "It is in New Jersey, should be here in a day or so, then 3 days later hearing ‘We don’t know where it is, we go get it from a dealer.’ Any and all tips or experiences would be appreciated. Perhaps I’m being too sensitive.

Whenever you get a vague, inappropriate, or contradictory statement from a dealership, be it about delivery of a new vehicle, warranty-related issues, or virtually anything else related to product that they sell, it is time to “kick it up a notch” by contacting the corporate entity. Toyota USA, located in Calfornia, can likely supply more specific answers than the dealership.

I had a somewhat similar experience back in '96-'97 when I ordered an Outback Limited. When 8 weeks had passed, and the dealership seemed to have no clue regarding delivery time, I contacted Subaru of America.

As it turned out, I had selected a paint color for this model that was not popular, and since not that many “Limited” models had been ordered, the factory did not want to paint just one vehicle in that color. I was given the option of changing my color choice to a fiery red color because, “there are lots of orders for that color, and if you are willing to change your color choice, we can supply your car much more quickly”.

I decided to stay with my original color choice, and I had to wait my turn until they accumulated a number (at least 10 if I recall correctly) of orders for Limited models with Sydney Blue Pearl paint before they would do a run of these vehicles in their paint shop.

I believe that I waited about 13 weeks for the delivery of that car, but it was worth the wait as the color was both beautiful and unique and the car was a gem. In the 6 years that I owned that car, I only saw about 4 or 5 others in the same color as mine, so they were certainly not lying about the paint color being an unusual choice.

Of course, this was impacted by the fact that Subaru was not a high-volume manufacturer in those days. Toyota is a much higher volume manufacturer, so different circumstances may apply, but the mfr/importer should be able to give you more accurate information than the dealership.

Perhaps another forum member with a recent model Toyota can post the toll-free telephone number for the OP.

It takes time to deliver a car from Japan to the USA. And Toyota may not ship from the Kyoto plant directly the the US. I would guess that they have a central shipping depot. There’s additional delay getting the Highlander to the depot. If you have a VIN, that implies it exists, or at least it is slated for production at a specific time in the near future. The VIN includes all the information needed to identify the vehicle, including consecutive build number.

And it could have been at a dealer in NJ and sold before your dealer could buy it. Then they would have been dancing while locating another one. Ask the sales manager, not the salesman, where the SUV is.

Remember that all the cars the dealer has on the lot have a financial commitment on his part. When you decide upon a car that’s not “his”, either a trade from another dealer or ordered from a distributor, you could have unforeseen problems. Cars are not books and are subject to interstate transportation considerations that “non vehicles” are not that can easily delay shipment and make it difficult to immediately determine their location. I would cut him some slack and decide if the wait is worth it to you personally without blaming him. Dealers do not want to intentionally loose a sale to an unhappy, potentially repeat customer.

If he can sell the car for more than your deal, he WILL! Your $200 bucks is chump change if someone is willing to pay $1500 more for it…"We are sorry for the misunderstanding, here is your $200 back…Next.

Take your money and walk away. All the ‘makes-sense’ logic and probables for why
things get delayed was a known to them when you walked in the door. They made the
decision not to tell you any of it. To think otherwise is to assume your case is
unique - as in never happened before - ever.

This happened to me about 15 years ago. I too got an endless runaround on the delivery status for the new car. In the end, it turned out the dealer sold the new car to someone else for more money.