When leasing your brand-new car, it’s quite common to factory order and have it built exactly the way you want it.
With that in mind, it's always helpful to know how that works and how long it's going to take to get your new lease vehicle.
What we're going to talk about
- What is a factory order?
- How does a factory order work?
- How long does a factory order take?
- Can I change the spec of my factory order?
- How can I get a car sooner?
What is a factory order?
With all the variety in the market, the experience of getting a new car is super exciting. After scanning through the options within your budget, you’ll finally narrow it down to a couple - but it’s tough to pull the trigger. It would probably be much easier if you could just make a few tweaks so it's exactly what you want, right? This is where car factory orders come into play.
Factory orders are far more comprehensive than just picking a car out of the dealership forecourt. It allows you to select the colour (both inside and out), the engine, trim, and add extra options. It means the car you’re getting is exactly what you want and bespoke to you.
However, in most cases, it's going to take a little bit longer to get your shiny new car. Where stock cars are delivered within days, factory orders can take months (usually around three) as they’re being built from scratch. As well, some models or options take longer to develop, as well as other factors that can turn some people away from going down this route.
In this article, we’ll show you how it works, how long it takes, how you can change the specifications, have it delivered sooner, and everything in between. Hopefully, it’ll help you make an informed decision.
The stages of a factory order
There are several steps to factory ordering your brand-new car. First, you actually have to place your order. Then, your order joins a queue of other orders that are waiting for a build date. Next, based on a couple of factors, the manufacturer will schedule a build week.
Once the vehicle is built, it leaves the factory and goes through customs, on its way to reach the UK (the shipment stage). It then arrives in a UK port, and, after thorough inspection, it’s delivered to the dealership ready for you.
Let’s discuss every step in a bit more detail.
Placing your order
It all starts with choosing and designing a model. This involves picking the colour, interior, exterior, performance, and all the options to your taste. Then, the manufacturer confirms your order. Simple as that.
In the queue
After confirmation, you’re officially in line to get a build week by the manufacturer. Some factors can pull or push the build week, for example, if it’s around peak time and the factory capacity is at its max, but more and more cars are being ordered, the queue will inevitably get longer. On the flip side, if the factories are quiet, the queue will go quicker. You can even snatch an earlier slot for your order to be built if someone cancels.
Scheduled & confirmed build week
Once the manufacturer confirms a build week to assemble your new lease car, you will get a far more accurate date as to when it will arrive in the UK. This week tends to be a number that represents what week of the year it's going to be built. For example, if your car had a build week 25, it would be built week commencing 21st June (2021).
So, what is the difference between a scheduled build week and a confirmed build week? Some vehicles are more complex. Naturally, making a simple car, like the Kia Picanto, usually takes less time to build than a premium car like the Porsche Taycan. Then, if you've ordered your Porsche with a panoramic glass sunroof and the factory doesn't have any in stock and must order them in, it can slow up the build. So instead of giving you a confirmed build week, the manufacturer might only schedule one, which can change a bit. But, once it’s confirmed, it's very rare for it to change.
Shipped & enroute
Now your car is built, it comes off the assembly line and moves to the port, ready to be shipped to the UK. Depending on where the factory is in relation to the port, it usually takes a couple of days to arrive there and then around 7-14 days to be shipped. This is all dependant on how busy the port is and how many ships are running.
Arrived at UK port
Then your car arrives at a UK port, ready for transfer to the dealership. It usually takes between 7-10 days to arrive at the dealership because it needs a thorough examination and paperwork. Again, it can take less time if the port is not working to its full capacity.
At the dealership
Finally, your shiny new car is at the dealership! There, it will go through a PDI (pre-delivery inspection) to see if there are any red flags regarding the factory order. Usually, the dealership carefully examines the whole vehicle, including the performance, interior, exterior, and overall fitness of the car.
And voila, you are now an expert in lease vehicle factory orders.
So, how long does a factory order take?
No car is the same and lead times are forever changing. Several factors have an impact on the lead time of an order, such as where it’s built and what it’s built with. Take a Q5 for instance, these are built in Mexico and can take up to 12 weeks just to be shipped to the UK. Then, if you add a panoramic glass sunroof, that could end up adding a week on depending on if the manufacturer has enough sunroofs ready to be fitted.
Many other factors can have an impact, too. If there is a surge in orders on a certain vehicle, if a new model is released, if the factory closes (as we’ve seen recently), if there’s a recall, or an accident occurs - all these things can have an impact.
When you place your order, we’ll be given an estimated delivery time from the dealer which we can work towards. As this can change and often does, we’ll update you throughout the process so you’re fully in the loop.
Can I change the spec of my factory order?
I’m indecisive, too, don’t worry. If you want to change anything on your order, do it ASAP. If the change is a small one (changing the colour, for example), then it’s likely that it won’t affect the lead time, whereas a bigger change (adding a sunroof, for instance) might delay the build by a few weeks.
However, if you don’t let us know ASAP it might be that we can’t make any changes – especially if the car has already gone into build. If that’s the case, we’re going to have to place a whole new order which means starting the process again!
How can I get a car sooner?
Of course, you want your new car soon. Who wouldn’t? But somethings are worth waiting for - especially if you want to be particular about the car, what it looks like and what it comes with. That said, if you can’t wait, the best way to get a car sooner is to go for a stock car or a car that is built and already on its way to the UK.
If you’ve ordered a vehicle but want one sooner, just let us know and we can send you a list of options available to replace your current order. Providing you haven’t ordered a high value car, or a really funky spec (we once ordered a green car with brown leather…), there is no charge to swap your order.
The factory order process can take a while, but it’s absolutely worth the wait since the feeling of driving down the road in the car of your dreams is irreplaceable. Just keep in mind that it’s a multi-step process before the car finally appears on your driveway. Moreover, be aware that several factors such as the model, the manufacturing country, bespoke options, etc., can impact the delivery timetable. As we get in touch with you a year before your car is due back, you'll have plenty of time to order a new one.
We constantly monitor and follow up on the order and keep you posted and updated throughout any possible changes, openings, etc. If you have any additional questions about specific models or other related issues, get in touch and have a chat with our team.