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Special ordering a new van from a dealership
Old 12-20-2020, 11:27 AM   #1
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Special ordering a new van from a dealership

We’re looking for tips and advice on special ordering a new vehicle from a dealership. We’ve bought new vehicles a few times over the years, but always from a dealer’s inventory, never a special order.

Now we are looking for a new cargo van for our second campervan conversion. We know the model & style we want but some of the options we want (high top, swivel seats, tow package) just are not available from any dealer’s stock. Also dealer stock levels are very low because Amazon, USPS and van converters are buying up everything available.

So we are considering a special order. Talked with two dealers and have initial price and delivery quotes (lead time 3-5 months!) We will get full out-the-door prices before we buy but does anybody have some suggestions or advice on special ordering a vehicle:

Down payment? One dealer said $1000 but the other didn’t require anything.

Price negotiation? It would seem that since the dealer doesn’t have to finance it or hold it in their stock then there should be more room for negotiating.

Incentives? There are cash back offers now but both dealers said that we would get the offers in effect at time of delivery – but they don’t know what those will be?

Other helpful advice? We’re hoping to benefit from others’ experiences.

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Old 12-20-2020, 02:00 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianB View Post

Down payment? One dealer said $1000 but the other didn’t require anything.

Price negotiation? It would seem that since the dealer doesn’t have to finance it or hold it in their stock then there should be more room for negotiating.

Incentives? There are cash back offers now but both dealers said that we would get the offers in effect at time of delivery – but they don’t know what those will be?

Other helpful advice? We’re hoping to benefit from others’ experiences.

BrianB
Did this once, about 20ish years ago, GM.

Down payment? Nothing.

Price? I was buying Option 1 through GM due to my sister's employment, however the owner of the dealership told me he would do the same price as if he had one on the lot. It may be that what I was ordering was common and he would have no problem having one like that on the lot if I backed out.

Incentives? By the time it came in, there was some cash back that wasn't there when the order was placed. This wasn't your 3-5 months, but I forget how long, maybe 6-7 weeks!?1? Whatever it was, I got all the incentives that were being offered at the time of close, not at the time of order.

While what we wanted wasn't anything wild, there was limited stock on lots due to being early in the model year. And we were in a position where our timing was somewhat flexible, but we didn't want to wait a long time. I asked the owner how the order would work, he gave me the answers above, and it all worked out that way. I got a call when it was on their lot, he suggested we drive it for a couple of days to be sure we were happy, which we did and were, and then went in to do the paperwork.

Worked out well, and I'd do it again if the circumstances dictated. Since then I have been able to buy something off the lot that I was happy with, and could do it at a time when incentives were good.
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Old 12-20-2020, 02:19 PM   #3
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I bought two vehicles this year, a BMW and a RAM. Both special order. The RAM I negotiated on line with several dealers and got it well below invoice, per say, and incentives at time of delivery=0% finance. The BMW went really well, I was given a GE fleet finance incentive about 4K, and they discounted the vehicle about 6% and gave me incentives at time of delivery, about 2K more and 0.9% finance.

The truck took about 6 weeks. The BMW came from the east coast and was a covid delay for parts, still it only took about 12 weeks. In all, you get what you want and at a fair price. Don't be afraid to get prices out side of your area, you may get a hungry dealer or at least some leverage.
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Old 12-20-2020, 02:23 PM   #4
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Buying online is now easy. You know what you want usually the manufactuer will have a site where several dealers can bid for your purchase.

I did that a few years ago buying my Audi, it was easy and I knew I was getting a good price for the options I wanted.
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Old 12-20-2020, 03:01 PM   #5
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The part about getting the incentives in effect at time of delivery is consistent with everything I have ever read about doing this. As for price, I’ve read it can be anywhere. There doesn’t seem to be a normal. If it’s a popular vehicle, they may offer nothing below their invoice.
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Old 12-20-2020, 03:18 PM   #6
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I've special ordered three vehicles over the years: a Dodge van, a Jeep Cherokee, and a Volvo SUV. All were great experiences, and I got exactly what I wanted, which certainly would not have been possible without the special orders.
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Old 12-20-2020, 03:42 PM   #7
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I almost special ordered my last car, because no dealer in my state had the right color combo and specs that I wanted. 90% of the cars in my model were full decked out, with about $7k in extras that I definitely wasn't going to pay for. The other 10% were white.

There was no negotiation to be had on ordering since the dealer has no incentive really. They are mostly interested in moving cars off their lot, they were honestly not interested in placing an order (my salesguy was nice and probably being too honest, and he knew he was wasting my time trying to get me to change my mind). It was going to take 10-12 weeks, and yes, any offers were ... eh depends what the maker is doing at the time.

I ended up finding a 1-year-old CPO at another dealer that met my specs instead.
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Old 12-20-2020, 04:38 PM   #8
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Nothing in the recent past. I special ordered a Ford Econoline back in '79. It was stripped down because we were doing a conversion at the time too. I was putting in captains chairs so I selected the "passenger seat delete". What wasn't detailed at the time of order was: no seat? Then no need to have seat mounting weld nuts. No need for seat belts or their mounting weld nuts. No need for the under-dash toe kick panel. No need for a passenger side visor. Probably some other pass side "accessories". They did include a passenger side windshield wiper, bless their hearts.

I mention this for obvious reasons. Be sure you understand what exactly is included or deleted beyond the one or two word description.
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Old 12-20-2020, 04:41 PM   #9
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I've special ordered three vehicles over the years: a Dodge van, a Jeep Cherokee, and a Volvo SUV. All were great experiences, and I got exactly what I wanted, which certainly would not have been possible without the special orders.
That parallels my experience too. Also have ordered three vehicles, a 1983 Buick Century, the ex got that in the divorce a year later. Then I ordered a 1985 Chevy 4WD pickup and kept that for 18 years.

When I bought the Chevy pickup one of the guys at work asked me "You're going to go out on dates in a pickup truck?"

I said "Yeah. And if some girl doesn't want to go out with me because I drive a pickup truck that's fine. It'll save us both a lot of bother."

When I was dating DW-to-be she thought it was great because the pickup had A/C and her car didn't.

Then when I retired I ordered a 2003 GMC 4WD pickup and still have that, it still runs fine.
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Old 12-20-2020, 04:55 PM   #10
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I’m in the process of ordering a Ford Bronco. I joined a Bronco forum and tracked down the best deal and dealer I could find. I have a $100 reservation that may need more down when I place the order. May take a year to get.

My recommendation would be to research the best deal online and go from there
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Old 12-20-2020, 07:04 PM   #11
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Thanks for asking this question. I almost ordered a van for camper conversion, but we ended up with a travel trailer and are happy with it. In our shopping, we found the fleet/commercial salesperson to be a much nicer experience than the floor sales people in general. Next car purchase will probably be an ordered vehicle (in ten years at least). I was tracking similar terms as those mentioned above (small down payment, price incentives are whatever is offered by mfr. at time of pickup/purchase).
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Old 12-20-2020, 07:17 PM   #12
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I ordered my first 2 years ago. Loaded, special paint, moon roof. Dealer did ask for a grand which I wrote a check for but he never cashed it. Told me policy was we cash it if you don't buy the car when its delivered.

Don't expect a lot of discount either. I saved a whole grand off sticker.
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Old 12-20-2020, 07:52 PM   #13
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If you're looking at a relatively rare vehicle, you have to go to one of the Big Boys. And Akins Ford in Winder, GA as the largest dealer in the state of any brand.

He has 39 bare vans in stock right now. See:

https://akinsfordwinder.worktrucksol...ssis,Cargo_Van

I have bought 4 vehicles from them including a F250 diesel 18 years ago as we lived close by. And it's a fantastic dealership for Ford & Ram.
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Old 12-21-2020, 09:37 AM   #14
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When I bought the Chevy pickup one of the guys at work asked me "You're going to go out on dates in a pickup truck?"
My GF drives a pickup truck
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Old 12-21-2020, 03:57 PM   #15
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My GF drives a pickup truck
That's not surprising. I read somewhere that just under half of pickup truck buyers are women, something like 45%.
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Old 12-22-2020, 07:01 AM   #16
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i ordered my Transit for $500 BELOW dealer invoice. that was 2015 and i received my 2016 in a few months. good luck with you build.
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Old 12-22-2020, 08:16 AM   #17
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Back when I was shopping for a cargo van for a DIY conversion I looked at Ford, but their prices were too high. They offered all kinds of incentives, depending on my "profession"!!! Being retired they were 0% discount! Pricks.

I ended up hitting the lucky shopper jackpot though. I found a "mispriced" slightly used (12,000 miles) Sprinter with 4wd, extra high & extra long, for $34K which was mistakenly underpriced by $20K! It was supposed to be $54K. The dealership actually sold it to me for the mistake price. I couldn't believe that they'd do that, but they did.

So, in the end Ford did me a favor.
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Old 12-22-2020, 10:28 AM   #18
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OP here again.

The van we want is a Ram Promaster, high top, long wheel base. With the options we want we got quotes of $39,018 from dealer #1 and $39,650 from dealer #2. MSRP is $41,335, so they are quoting $2,317 and $1,685 off. Tax, title and license extra. The tax & license are not negotiable, but maybe the title fees are?

incentives may reduce the price further. Right now there is a $1000 incentive for consumers, or $3000 for business owners. That may change but salesman #1 said they are expecting incentives to still be available in April. Our pre-RE business has been dormant for 4+ years but still exists so maybe we can qualify for the higher incentive?

Right now we are favoring dealer #1. Lower price, a little closer (6 mi instead of 30 mi), and salesman #1 has given us more complete and detailed answers to our questions.

We are also looking at the few pre-owned vans available but it appears the depreciation is only about $3k per year, and many of the late model used vans available have high mileage & hard use (125k miles on a 2019??)

Next step will be getting a final out the door cost before we make our decision. Thank you everyone for your comments!

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