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Old 02-10-2018, 12:35 AM   #1
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Default off the lot vs. special order

I went to a local PleasureWay dealer today to look at a new Ascent. The sales guy asked whether I expected to be buying off the lot, or placing a special order for the exact options I want (approx. 5 months lead time). I assumed that buying off the lot would be cheaper, but the sales guy said no, usually a special order is cheaper. That seemed really odd to me certainly at variance with my experience purchasing regular cars. Of course I have considered that he might have been mistaken or inaccurate. But assuming he was speaking accurately, can anyone explain why a special order would be cheaper?
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Old 02-10-2018, 01:04 AM   #2
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Someone has to pay for the vehicle sitting on the lot. In a typical dealership the vehicle is purchased by the dealer from the manufacturer and then financed. It sounds silly but that's how it works.

So the dealer is paying interest on the financing, financing fees to set up the loan, the up front cost of delivering the vehicle to the lot and other fees which are paid at the time of purchase. These are direct costs that will be transferred to the buyer. And on a $150,000 vehicle the interest isn't cheap.

So a special order won't have any financing to get in the way of a purchase, which reduces it's actual cost. Plus the dealer may be able to receive an incentive for a special order which they may pass part of it to you saving additional money.

Many of the above fees are still charged on a special order, but they are not financed. They are charged to the buyer directly in the form of dealer costs which they call things like freight, setup, PDI etc.
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Old 02-10-2018, 01:41 AM   #3
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+1.

If you are paying more for special order, you aren't negotiating very well.

(Of course, the exception is a last-year vehicle that hasn't sold for which the dealer is eager to cut his or her losses).
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Old 02-10-2018, 01:49 AM   #4
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When we were looking for our Roadtrek in the 2007-2008 range, all the Roadtrek dealers we talked to wanted full sticker for a special order, so it easily got to the point that a fully optioned one on the lot cost less than the selectively optioned special order.

My guess is that it had to do with some sort of lack of floorplan from Roadtrek to help the dealers carry the inventory on their lots. If the dealers are paying 1-1.5% a month to have the unit on the lot, they quickly figure out that selling it cheaper is actually much better for the bottom line.

Things seem to be totally different now.
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Old 02-10-2018, 02:10 AM   #5
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So, @Bruceper and @booster seem to be using the same data to reach opposite conclusions. There is a cost to the dealer to having a unit on the lot; that makes sense. @Bruceper says that means special order is cheaper because the dealer doesn't have to pay that cost. @booster says that means off the lot is cheaper because the dealer has more incentive to discount it.

I think what this means is that the dealer *can* sell a special order more cheaply, but has less incentive to do so. The *actual* sales price might be cheaper for off the lot because the dealer has more incentive to move it. Have I got that about right?
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Old 02-10-2018, 04:00 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rothskeller View Post
I think what this means is that the dealer *can* sell a special order more cheaply, but has less incentive to do so. The *actual* sales price might be cheaper for off the lot because the dealer has more incentive to move it. Have I got that about right?
Sounds about right.

The other thing mentioned is incentives. Sometimes the manufacturer gives an incentive to sell "old" units such as last years models that are still kicking around.
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Old 02-10-2018, 04:28 AM   #7
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My experience is that vehicle dealers vary widely with respect to pricing. They simply have different business models. I recently bought a new car. It was a new model in relatively short supply. My local dealer didn't have what I wanted, and said my only option was to place a factory order and wait 5 months. That evening, I got on the Internet. I found at least 10 identical units that were exactly what I was looking for, all within 500 miles of home. I sent email to all of them. Many of them said that their price was MSRP, period. I ended up buying from a South Carolina dealer who delivered my exact vehicle to our driveway in less than a week for almost $5K below list. They were a class act. Clearly they were set up for this kind of volume sale, whereas many others preferred higher profits on fewer units. I don't have enough experience to know if this is true in the RV market, but I bet it is.
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Old 02-10-2018, 01:57 PM   #8
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I put a deposit down on a 2018 Ascent 2 weeks ago. Dealer was asking same price for unit on lot or one of their yet to be built allotments. The one on the lot sold while we were looking so we ordered one. Delivery hopefully in May.

You can PM me if you want to talk price we got.
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Old 02-10-2018, 02:24 PM   #9
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Maybe this needs to be in a different thread, but maybe here is ok too?

"off the lot vs. special order" Could there be a difference in trying to ensure the B did not have problems that the dealer might not fix for months?

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Old 02-10-2018, 02:30 PM   #10
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An RV on the lot may have options you don't want. Paying for extras complicates figuring the "value" of what you get.

Our dealer let us dicker on a custom order WBO.

We decide what is a "decent" deal and then try to stop thinking about it. Buying is painful, but hopefully what you go home with will be fun so you can forget about it.
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