New car factory order guide – how long does it take? Can you get your new car quicker?

If you’re looking to buy a brand new car, you may have come across the term ‘factory order’. What does it mean and how could it affect you? Read our complete guide to find out…

If you’re ready to get behind the wheel of a new car, check out our car configurator tool to see the great deals you could get, direct from out nationwide network of dealers. If you’re not sure what car you want, check out our helpful car chooser tool and deals pages.

What is a factory order car?

Once you’ve decide which new car suits you best, you’ll be able to choose exactly what engine, colour, equipment and options you’d like it to come fitted with. A dealership will send this list to the factory where it will be built to your exact specification. A car ordered in this fashion is known as a factory order car.

What is a car order lead time?

The term ‘lead time’ refers to the amount of time it will take from your factory order being placed to your new car arriving at the dealership, ready for delivery. This time can vary from a few weeks to a few months. More specialised or exclusive cars could, in some case, take even longer.

The length of this lead time depends on a myriad of variables, including when in the dealer’s order cycle the order is placed, the car’s exact specification, whether such a car is in particularly high demand and, in some cases, the time of year you place your order.

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

It’s usually possible to change elements of your order, up to a point. The exact time you’ll be locked-in to your order will vary but, broadly speaking, manufactures will allow you to change the colour and some optional extras at a later date than the engine or gearbox, for example.

How long is is the delivery time for factory orders?

Many things can affect a car’s delivery time, from specific trim levels to the engine and gearbox combination you choose. Even a particular option could make a big difference – when the latest Volkswagen Golf was launched, for example, supply chain delays meant cars fitted with a rear-view camera were delivered later than those without.

The best way to get an accurate delivery estimate is to contact the dealership. Some manufacturers offer a tracking service, allowing you to see your order progress and check if it’s on track to meet its estimated delivery date.

How accurate are the delivery times?

Exact delivery times are hard to predict and, as a result, dealers may be hesitant to give an exact date. Building a car is a complicated process and a small delay at one stage could set the entire production line back days or even weeks. Car 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. We don’t recommend you take your new car’s delivery time as gospel, and 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 the 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 is available in over 10 million combinations! This makes their manufacture a particularly time-consuming process. Some models aren’t as customisable as their rivals and can, therefore, progress through the factory quicker – reducing their lead times considerably.

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

How can I get quicker delivery?

Delivery times can vary between dealers. Each dealer will be allocated a certain amount of factory build slots which 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 the lead time your car make take to deliver without the usual hassle of calling or visiting dealerships directly.

Save money on your new car

If you’ve decided which new car is perfect for you, make sure you use our car configurator tool to get it for a great price. If you’re not sure what to buy, take a look at our deals pages and helpful car chooser tool.

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