There is something special about a factory ordered new car. You get to configure your vehicle of choice to your specifications, have it made and delivered to your local dealership. I’ve done this twice and highly recommended it if you have the chance, unless of course you are ordering a Volkswagen.
I ordered my performance package equipped GTI in October of 2014. At the time Volkswagen said that vehicles should be delivered sometime in January. Of course the dealer had no idea when these cars would arrive or even how much they would cost. Some people did get their cars in January, but others didn’t. There didn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason as to why certain cars were delivered and others were not.
I dug around a bit on the forums and found that when the order was placed didn’t matter. Some people that ordered in September didn’t get their car, while others that ordered as late as November did. It was not a “first come, first serve” basis. Some folks theorized that higher volume dealerships got priority order over the smaller dealers. These seemed a bit unfair, but could be a logical explanation. We asked VW and they had no comment.
I get a phone call sometime mid-January from my dealer that went like this:
Good news, your car has been approved for production.
Oh that’s great so when are they going to build it?
We don’t know...we just spoke to the regional rep. and they said it has been ‘approved’ to be built. So probably three months.
Three months? They got the order back in October. (I have the paperwork that confirms the order was indeed placed in the fall)
Sorry, wish we knew more, but we will keep you posted.
So the wait continues...months go by and I get another update around early February.
Your car has been scheduled for production in week 10 (about mid-March)
...more waiting, and March rolls around. I stop by the dealership to see if they have any more information. The pull up the order page on their computer and it says something along the lines of vehicle in transit, ETA 4/6.
So now I start to get excited.
On Monday April 6th, I get a text from my dealer with a screenshot of his computer that said “on carrier.”
On carrier! Is it an aircraft carrier? Because that is the only explanation I can think of why it would take so long to get a Volkswagen from Mexico to New Jersey. Doug’s Skyline probably had a faster trip across the Pacific.
On April 13th the car arrives. As I mentioned earlier this was my second factory ordered car. The first was a 2004 Mini Cooper S, that experience was totally different. Soon after I placed the order for my Mini I got an email link to track the car through every step of the process. I knew when the car was on the production line, when it was in the paint shop, when they put it on the boat, and I even got notifications when it passed customs and was in route to the dealer. This was eleven years ago. Obviously, the technology exists for customers to track their order process. You would think Volkswagen and zeGermans would be quite efficient at determining what cars will be built and when. Unfortunately, VW doesn’t have the best track record in regards to user interface when it comes to its US customers.
Of course GTIs without the performance package, are fairly easy to come by on dealer lots. For some folks the added hardware is worth it, for some not so much. Most of the critics seem to agree that with the performance package, Volkswagen has built what is arguably the greatest GTI since the MK1. So I decided I would spend the extra cash and see what it was all about. As of now some dealers are reporting a six month wait list for performance package equipped GTIs.
So it its quest to dig itself out of a sales slump, Volkswagen makes a great performance car and wins all kinds of awards, but makes it damn near impossible for customers to buy it. And even when the cars do get to the dealers, the brand has difficulty handing them over without any hiccups.
If you have a question, a tip, or something you would like to to share about car-buying, drop me a line at AutomatchConsulting@gmail.com and be sure to include your Kinja handle.