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What to expect when ordering a car from the factory

We take a look at the timeframes you can expect when ordering a new car that's built to your requirements.

Cars being built at a factory

Cars being built at a factory

Purchasing a vehicle is one of the biggest decisions, and financial transactions, most of us will make. Even when buying a used car, you want to be sure you’ve picked the right one for your needs. But what about buying a new car that’s exactly as you pictured it?

Your dream car might not even be readily available in the UK, never mind at your nearest showroom. That’s when it becomes a factory order, tailored by you with the help of a product consultant, and built to your requirements by the manufacturer.

Who orders from the factory?

‘A wide array of customers look for cars built to order’, explains Andrew Bolton, Product Consultant and Motability Specialist at Hillington Renault/Dacia.

‘Customers look for family cars, sporty-looking models, and city cars to a certain specification, and Motability vehicles are typically purchased as factory orders. A product consultant will qualify what you might need based on any family, pets or hobbies.'

What are the steps involved?

You might have perused our range of vehicles online, seen a desirable car whizz by on the road, or be looking for an upgrade on your stalwart model, but the first step towards a factory order starts with a trip into the branch to speak with a product consultant.

Andrew, who has specialised in new car sales over a 37-year career, says: ‘I show my customers a brochure to look at specific aspects of a certain car based on preference. If they wish to include extras then it might become a factory order. From that point, there are lots of options a customer can customise on a given model; body colour, for a specific colour or a metallic effect; packs including more than one accessory such as a Winter, Technology or Convenience pack; or a quality sound system.’

At this point, using Renault’s Distrinet system, Andrew and his colleagues, and those product consultants using other manufacturer equivalents, can give you, the customer, an instant statement with an estimated delivery time – from 12 to 14 weeks up to even six months or more.

But this may be a small price to pay for a car being exactly how you want it.

Andrew said: ‘A three-piece suite for your living room can take months to deliver from order. We’re building a car with more than 3,000 moving parts, offering a highly personalised service.

‘We can show the customer a delivery date sitting at our desk, and later, track the car’s progress as it passes from factory to transportation, which could be by rail, car transporter or by sea, depending on its country of manufacture. I will offer them a printout, in addition to their signed order form, as a reminder of their car’s spec and delivery timescale, or even email the document to the customer to ensure they have all the essential facts around their important purchase.

‘Then, the customer has 14 days after the initial order has been placed to change any accessory requests before the factory begins its new build.’

You’ve placed your factory order – what happens next?

Andrew says: ‘Your Car Preview (YCP) videos have become an important part of the customer experience, and a product consultant or product genius will send the customer a video showing the same colour or model as the car just purchased.

‘Following on, I will speak to my customers several times; before the car reaches the branch; when the vehicle leaves the factory; when it reaches the import country; when it is en route to the branch, and when it arrives.’

After a long wait for the vehicle your heart desires, one step remains before you can take it home – choosing a new number plate!

Andrew explained: ‘As a customer, you’ll receive a call inviting you to choose your new registration plate in-branch, from a choice of 50. These are "live" so need to be activated with you present at the branch. Also, you will be asked to bring in the appropriate personal documents to complete your purchase, so remember to bring those on request from your product consultant.

‘Finally, the product consultant will arrange a convenient time for you to come and pick up your vehicle, so completing the process of a factory order, from brochure to handover.'

Sound good? With 26 manufacturers to choose from, you can start the search for your perfect car today in branch or online.

About the Author

John McCallum