What is a factory order? Can I get my new car quicker?

A factory order is a new car that’s been built to a customer’s exact specification. Everything from the engine to the paint colour and selection of optional extras will have been picked in advance by its future owner.

What is a factory order car?

The term factory order refers to a new car that’s been built according to a customer’s requirements. You’ll tell a dealer exactly what engine, trim, colour and any extras you want and the manufacturer will build a new car to your exact specification.

Are factory order cars different to stock cars?

Unlike factory orders, stock cars are vehicles built to no individual customer’s specification. Instead, they’ve been ordered by a manufacturer and sent directly to dealerships. Usually, these cars are fitted with popular items such as sat nav and finished in inoffensive, saleable colours. If you’re looking for a neon orange model, a factory order will probably be the way to go.

What is a factory order lead time?

The term ‘lead time’ refers to how long it’ll take from you placing your order to the car arriving at a dealership, ready to be collected. It can vary from a few weeks to a few months – highly specialised orders could, potentially, take even longer.

Can I change an order once I’ve placed it?

If you change your mind about a particular option, you’ll be able to alter your order up to a point. Broadly speaking, most manufacturers will allow you to change things like paint colour and optional extras at a later date than the engine or gearbox, for example.

How accurate are the delivery times on factory orders?

Exact delivery times are hard to predict and, as a result, some dealers may be hesitant to give an exact date. Building a car is a complicated process and a small delay at any one stage could set the entire production line back days or even weeks. Some manufacturers may also choose to prioritise a particular type of car or engine for supply chain or demand reasons.

As a result, any new car delivery time should be taken with a small pinch of salt. It’s often a good idea to order as early as possible – you can always leave the car at the dealership unregistered if it arrives a little too early for you.

Why are factory order lead times so long?

Unlike a standardised product, such as a mobile phone, most new cars can be built in thousands of different specifications – the Mini hatchback is available in over 10 million combinations. This makes their manufacture a particularly time-consuming process. Some models aren’t as customisable as rivals and can, therefore, progress through the factory quicker.

Even a single optional extra could make a big difference. When the previous VW Golf was launched, for example, supply chain delays meant cars fitted with a rear-view camera were delivered later than those without.

Where in the world a car is built can also affect its lead time. The VW Beetle is built in Mexico and just shipping it to England could take as many as three weeks. It will, therefore, probably have a longer lead time than a car built in Europe or the UK.

Can I get quicker delivery on my factory order?

Possibly. Each dealer will be allocated a certain amount of factory build slots that can occasionally be amended. For example, your local Audi dealer may have ordered an Audi A3 Sportback they were planning to use as a demonstrator – they could offer to sacrifice its build slot for you so you can modify their planned specification and get your car ahead of schedule.

Order a new car through carwow and you’ll be able to anonymously contact dealerships and ask them how long your car may take to deliver without the usual hassle of calling or visiting dealerships directly.