Factory Order Vs. Lot Inventory: Which is the Best Way to Buy a Car

By: Mike's Car Store   |   31 Dec 2023

Car hunting these days can sometimes be a difficult process. From locating the right vehicle for you to finding the right financing terms for your budget, not to mention longer than normal wait times for new vehicles, it can be a time-consuming journey, In this blog post, we’re going to discuss a lesser-known method of buying a car. Not many car buyers in Lousiville know that factory ordering a vehicle is an option. But what’s the difference between ordering directly from the factory and buying a car straight off the lot? Let’s go over the pros and cons of both.

What is Factory Ordering?

A factory order is the process of customizing and ordering a vehicle directly from a manufacturer. Instead of choosing from the inventory available at the dealership, a factory order allows you to select specific trim lines, colors, and options tailored to your preferences. The first thing to note here is that every manufacturer is different. For example, Subaru is known to have a limited inventory and will make it hard to find exactly the vehicle you want, whereas an automaker like Chevrolet will make it easier to find what you’re looking for. Other automakers only let you order within a specific timeframe, often once a quarter, while others do not offer factory ordering at all.

Lot Inventory: Pros and Cons

As the leading method of purchasing a vehicle from a dealership, there are many different reasons why this way will or won’t work for your car-buying needs.

Pro: Immediacy.

When you purchase off the lot from a dealership, you’re likely able to test drive and drive away with your new car the day of. All of the final prices can be worked out on the spot. Additionally, you should have to deal with any changes in price or vehicle during a waiting period. This also means that if you have a trade-in, you know your vehicle won’t depreciate over time and that it will be sold at the highest value. Keep in mind this pro does not apply to vehicles that are only available for pre-order at a dealer.

Con: Customization Sacrifices

When purchasing off the lot, you may end up having to make customization sacrifices such as color, and options or deal with potential defects. You may even see a bit of mileage on the vehicle from being test-driven. The truth is, there's no such thing as a perfect used car. Sometimes, a dealership phenomenon we like to call “lot rot” can happen as well, which is when a vehicle begins to deteriorate after sitting on the lot, undriven for too long. Not to mention, your options are limited to a dealership’s inventory if you don’t enjoy the hassle of shopping around to different lots.

Factory Ordering: Pros and Cons

Pro: Freedom of Choice

The main attraction to factory ordering a vehicle is that you have the freedom to build and customize a vehicle the way you want it. You can also choose which dealership you’d like to work with. If you trade in your current vehicle during the wait time for your factory order, you have the opportunity to sell your car at a higher price.

Con: Longer Wait Times

The biggest con to factory ordering is the long wait times you might be facing. Typically, this can range anywhere from six to eight weeks, although with the current state of the automotive industry and supply chain issues to keep up with demand, wait times have reportedly been even longer. This largely depends on the vehicle, the manufacturer, and where the vehicle is made. Vehicles from Chevrolet are often manufactured locally, while others can be coming from as far as Mexico. Rebates can also play a factor, as with some automakers, rebates will fluctuate throughout the waiting period, while others, particularly Crysler, may lock them in for you.


Consider Your Options and Plan Ahead

When buying a car, it’s important to consider your options and your current conditions. For instance, if you’ve recently damaged your car to the point where it can no longer be used, factory ordering may not be the best option for you unless you can afford a rent car. 

Here at Mike’s Car Store, we specialize in helping the people of Louisville, Georgetown, and beyond find quality used vehicles at affordable prices, no matter your credit. Skip the wait times and the sticker shock and browse our inventory of used vehicles ready to be driven off the lot today!


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