Ford wants to move from dealer stock to BTO

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They mention that the market has changed and customers want to spec trucks the way THEY want them.

is it just me or has the buyer market not changed, rather sales managers/distributors don’t know how to spec a vehicle people want?

go to any new car lot, even pre COVID, and outside of the bread n butter cars( Civic LX, Corolla LE, Grand Cherokee Laredo, C300 etc.) how many are actually spec’d close to how you want it? Not even talking colors or wheels, but option packages.

for example I looked at Jeep wranglers pre covid. None of the wranglers locally were any less than 42k. I get the dealers want stock that sells...except those units typically sit longer than the base stuff.

Toyota is the worst with their Tacomas. I’ve had a few attempts on buying one over the years and the dealers only stocks high spec units. 40k plus trucks. Then like once every 3 years I’ll come across a SR like the one I own.

and it’s not like all of these dealers are willing to order a car for you either.
 

dishdude

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I love ordering vehicles, especially when you get into trucks/SUVs/Jeeps. So many trim, color and driveline options it's tough to find something on the lot that meets your specs...but dealers want the sale today, not 8 weeks from now. I will patiently wait for what I want.
 
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Tesla works mostly on the BTO model as well. This would be interesting - but it’s not just individual customers buying cars. It’s fleets(either rental or corporate fleet such as Enterprise) who buy but on a more “custom” basis. I can see the car industry move to more of a BTO model with “top-seller” or “loss leader” ready to buy at dealer lots. Dealers are going to balk at the idea, especially sales managers and salesmen who’ll lose out on incentives, spiffs and mark-up to move their floorplan off the lot.
 
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The average person wants some options on their vehicles, which is why most are mid spec or higher while the lower trims tend to be few and far between. If the lower spec stuff truly sold well, they’d stock more of it.
 

avacado11

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The average person wants some options on their vehicles, which is why most are mid spec or higher while the lower trims tend to be few and far between. If the lower spec stuff truly sold well, they’d stock more of it.

I get the mid spec cars will by far be easier to sell than a striped model, except when I look at some of these so called “mid trim” units they are optioned out close to the top trim level price.

for instance, I see all these new F150 XLTs pushing 50-55k when that’s in Larait territory. Seems like they love stocking fully optioned mid trim vehicles. A Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport runs roughly 35k msrp, then somehow add on these tech packages and what not and things pushing 45k.
 

avacado11

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Tesla works mostly on the BTO model as well. This would be interesting - but it’s not just individual customers buying cars. It’s fleets(either rental or corporate fleet such as Enterprise) who buy but on a more “custom” basis. I can see the car industry move to more of a BTO model with “top-seller” or “loss leader” ready to buy at dealer lots. Dealers are going to balk at the idea, especially sales managers and salesmen who’ll lose out on incentives, spiffs and mark-up to move their floorplan off the lot.

I dont despise the BTO idea but it only really works when you have limited options like Tesla. Color, wheels, and if you want it to drive itself. Nothing more. What you see is what you get.

The issue I have is shifting the current system over to BTO as if the consumer demand changed. I mean at the end of the day we really only order our cars because they dealer doesn’t have what we want. Not color, not wheels, but rather the excessive/not useful packages.

if manufactures could just keep the features on a trim level basis there wouldn’t really be a need for BTO.
 
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This is how it should have always been. Now if they can make it so we can order certain things WITHOUT having to get other things that we do not want. If I'm dropping five figures on anything, it will be made to my specifications and not someone else's. These days if you buy a car and want one or two features, you have to add on a package full of other crap that's unnecessary. This is why all new cars and trucks are not worth buying now.

Another burning question, under this new model would I be able to spec a brand new F150 with a 5.0L V8, single cab short bed with a bench seat and no other electronic crap?
 
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I think for most car dealers you could always special order a car but most people didn't want to wait. I remember the first new car I bought I had to buy it off the lot because my old car blew a head gasket so I couldn't wait around for a few weeks to do a special order. Wasn't quite what I wanted but I settled. I had already been driving around a couple weeks in a rental car. Mercedes actually used to let you do European delivery where they would knock off 7% off MSRP and no destination charge which can be in the $1000 range. You could also negotiate with the dealer and get another 2-5% off on top of that. But I think if you walked into a dealership to buy a car, you could probably negotiate 5-10% off anyway depending on the time of year/month and the model so maybe you're only really saving a few percent and the trip basically kills the savings but I guess you save money not having to rent a car for a week or two while you're there. I like them fully loaded so it'd be nice if more people buy them loaded.
 
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I've ordered my last two cars. I don't really want to compromise on something I'm going to have for many years and waiting a few months allows time to sell your vehicle, save up some more money, etc.

If more companies were like Subaru and offered basically zero options aside from trim level and color, people wouldn't order so much... "find me a green Premium" is a lot easier than find me a "green crew cab XLT with the 3.6, 10 speed, brown interior, safety and convenience packages, running boards and led headlights."
 
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Well, they will sell less cars that way. We’ve trained consumers for years to buy on demand. Folks can pick one out and take it home. There will laws be people like me who like to order stuff. I am not sure just how well that would go over with the buying public…….
 
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The only problem with BTO is you're not going to get the rebates, etc. you do when dealers try to liquidize their stock, and being a single vehicle with those specific options, I don't think the whole "economies of scale" thing will come into play all that much.

That said, so long as you can actually spec out a vehicle the way you want, and people are willing to spend the money, there will probably be demand. I would love to be able to order a stripped down, base model Yukon SLE for instance with the L86 6.2L V8 and RWD...but would the manufacturer actually build a vehicle to that spec to order? Or would you have to buy some sort of option package to be able to get it? That's another thing.
 
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Ford will flame out on this horrible idea. They used to sell their semi-garbage fleet Taurus & f-150 in bunches. People now will be willing to buy a vehicle sitting on the lot when their old one blows. Rather than order & wait. Nobody wants to wait these days, for ANYTHING. Much less a Ford, that's the only reason their mid-size cars sold. This will turn out badly. Toyota & Honda & KIA & Hyundai need to buy more real estate for big lots. They are all going to sell 15% more cars & suvs very very soon.
 
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If more companies were like Subaru and offered basically zero options aside from trim level and color, people wouldn't order so much... "find me a green Premium" is a lot easier than find me a "green crew cab XLT with the 3.6, 10 speed, brown interior, safety and convenience packages, running boards and led headlights."
Honda does that. LX being the “base” model, EX/EX-L middle of the road and Touring is top of the line. You could in the past buy a Accord or Civic in stripped down DX trim too. Of course, a dealer can tack on aftermarket addons(usually leather, aftermarket wheels and radio/navigation) onto the addendum and try to pass it off as “cheaper” than buying as EX-L/touring.

I optioned out a dream truck - F150 SCrew, standard bed, 3.5EB, don’t want fancy audio or too much beyond power locks/windows/alloy wheels. After the needed packages, $50K in XLT form, $56K in Lariat form.
 
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but would the manufacturer actually build a vehicle to that spec to order? Or would you have to buy some sort of option package to be able to get it? That's another thing.
if you have a fleet account or customer number with Ford or GM, they will happily oblige with any special requests from what I’ve heard. That’s how Enterprise was able to order cars with no side airbags from GM. And supposedly how a dealer ended up selling a Caprice to a non-police customer via a refused fleet order?
 

555

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Public relations move. Ford wants to portray that they cater to the buyer with personalized service. Gets deposits for "exactly what you want".
Reality is they don't have enough supply. So Ford softens the blow of having to wait by calling it something else.
Plus this "new" way of doing business makes the news, free advertising.
 
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The linked story has the real reason for this move: to eliminate incentives. If you order the exact vehicle you want, the dealer and automaker have no reason to offer you rebates, financing deals, cut pricing, any of that. At least in theory.

The danger? If you have few cars on the lot and nothing in a particular model for someone to look at and test-drive, that customer might not bother to place the special order in the first place. And as mentioned, some people need a replacement vehicle today, not months from now.

Ford is going to have a harder time phasing in this new business model than its managers realize.
 
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The linked story has the real reason for this move: to eliminate incentives. If you order the exact vehicle you want, the dealer and automaker have no reason to offer you rebates, financing deals, cut pricing, any of that. At least in theory.

The danger? If you have few cars on the lot and nothing in a particular model for someone to look at and test-drive, that customer might not bother to place the special order in the first place. And as mentioned, some people need a replacement vehicle today, not months from now.

Ford is going to have a harder time phasing in this new business model than its managers realize.
I think there will still be incentives/rebates and financing deals, as well as a few new cars for those “need it now, not a few weeks to months later” buyers. If Ford really wants to push this, they’ll offer bigger incentives and better financing if you factory order instead of buying off the lot, they’re actually doing it right now after looking real quick, $1,000 off a factory order of a F-150.
064010FD-7E12-4771-886E-F59504782273.jpg
 
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I think there will still be incentives/rebates and financing deals, as well as a few new cars for those “need it now, not a few weeks to months later” buyers. If Ford really wants to push this, they’ll offer bigger incentives and better financing if you factory order instead of buying off the lot, they’re actually doing it right now after looking real quick, $1,000 off a factory order of a F-150. View attachment 65733
What about the MSRP is $55K but you can have it for $43K without trying? My business partner bought his F150 ib 2016 and at least back then you could get $12-15K off of MSRP just walking through the door. While this is true of many vehicles, the difference between MSRP and actual sale price in some trucks seems extreme.
 
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Most car buyers want the car today and not have to wait 6 weeks to special order one. Especially if theirs just broke down. Besides, some makes like Honda don't give you any choice other than transmission or leather seats. They have 3 trim levels with automatic or stick being the only option, take it or leave it.
 
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