Should I buy a car off the lot or factory order one?

All things considered equal, ordered vehicles cost no more than vehicles in dealer stock and, in some cases, may actually cost less.

When you buy from dealer stock, you may have to settle for a vehicle with either more or less equipment or your second or third color choice. Moreover, the dealership pays interest on stocked vehicles at a predetermined monthly rate to the manufacturer.

When you factory order, you get exactly what you want, in the color you want, and the dealer doesn’t have any finance charges -- which may reduce the cost to you.

The downside to ordering is that incentives and rebates are good only on the day of delivery, unless stated otherwise (in writing) by the dealer. In other words, if an incentive or rebate program is in effect when the vehicle is ordered -- but not in effect on the day of delivery -- the customer is usually ineligible for the incentive or rebate. If you order a vehicle, and the delivery date is very close to the expiration date of a rebate or incentive program, note that the dealer may try to delay delivery until after the rebate or incentive has expired.

Also keep in mind that a dealer will be less likely to negotiate on a model that’s a hot seller. But if the model you’re seeking has been gathering dust on the sales floor, you may be able score a great deal.

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