When you get a new car, you will either get a stock car or a factory order.

You will often have the choice between a stock car or a factory order, but it’s vital you know the difference before you make a decision.

In this article, we are going to go through the key differences between a stock car and a factory order, and the pros and cons of each.

What is a stock vehicle?

A stock vehicle doesn’t actually mean the car is in stock (yes, I agree, that does sound very confusing!), “normally” when you are told a car is in stock, yes you can take it that the car is sitting a dealer and waiting to be delivered.  However, it actually could mean that the car is built but at a holding compound (i.e. not in the UK) or you could be told the vehicle is pipeline stock which means goods that have left a warehouse (so on their way to the UK) but have not been bought yet by the end user, so it is vital that you check with your dealer / vehicle broker where your vehicle is if they tell you the car is “in stock” to avoid any upset later down the line.

What are the pros and cons of a stock vehicle?

Some of the advantages of having a stock car are;

  • It’s quicker
    • If the car has already been built and is ready for its onward journey, it will get to you in a quicker time than if it were a factory order
  • There is less risk of it being delayed (this will very much depend on the definition of stock – see paragraph above)
    • Again, this is because it has already been built. Your stock car is less likely to be delayed.
  • It’s easier to plan for
    • Stock cars generally (but not always) can be turned around for delivery alot quicker than a car on factory order.
  • You can sometimes secure a better deal
    • This isn’t always the case, but if you catch the dealership at a time when they are up against their targets, they may put some additional money behind certain cars to get them sold. This is not guaranteed by any means, but we have seen it happen.
cars parked up in a line in car parking spaces with numbers

But, there are also disadvantages;

  • You might get the exact specification you want
    • Because the car has already been built, you might not get all the features you want or need as the car hasn’t been specifically built to your needs. Therefore, if you want something more bespoke you might want to look at a factory order.
  • It could still be delayed
    • This could be due to driver availability, how many cars are being shipped at that time and the earliest delivery date
  • It won’t be with you immediately
    • If you need a car within the week it’s certainly worth asking the question – it will depend on where the car is, how quickly paperwork can be signed and returned and certain other parameters. It will take less time than a factory order, but it may not always happen immediately.  

How will I know if my vehicle is a stock car?

You will be told before you sign any paperwork that your car is a stock order. This is because you will have to agree to the specification and the colour etc, so your vehicle broker or dealer will tell you that the car is in stock and ready to go.

As we said, if you want something more bespoke then you will have to look at a factory order. Your vehicle broker / dealer will go over these options with you, but you will know before you sign any documents that your car will be a stock car.

What is a factory order car?

A factory order vehicle is one that is made to order by you. This means that you choose everything, from the colour to the trim to any additional extras that you may want to add. It is completely bespoke to you.

What are the pros and cons of a factory order car?

Some of the advantages of a factory order car include;

  • The car is completely bespoke to you
    • You can choose everything, making it your perfect car
  • You get the latest version of the car
    • Because it is made to order, the car will have all the latest updates
  • If you are not ready to part with your current car, a factory order gives you more time
    • If you are on a lease contract that doesn’t end for several months, ordering a factory order car means you won’t have two cars on the drive at once

The main advantage is that you can cater it to your needs. It is your dream car, because you have complete say in what you have in it.

But there are disadvantages. For example;

  • It’s a longer wait
    • If you do want a car soon-ish, then a factory order isn’t for you
hundreds of white cars parked waiting at a port
  • There’s a risk of it being delayed
    • There is a longer process for a factory order, so if you need your new car on a specific date, it is important that you share this information with your vehicle broker / dealer so they can ensure they choose the right build slot when ordering your new car.
  • It’s harder to plan for the delivery
    • You won’t need to know what you are doing on the afternoon of November 14th  – as you will be told the anticipated delivery month when you place your order.  Finite details will be confirmed to you when the vehicle arrives into stock.  You might be lucky enough to have ordered your new car through a vehicle broker who has a portal  to keep you updated on a regular basis so you are always in the know as to the whereabouts of your new car.

So those are the disadvantages of a factory order. You will know if your car is a factory order before you sign anything. You will have to ensure that the specification is correct, of course.

How long does a factory order car take to be delivered?

The delivery time can alter considerably, but you will get an estimated delivery time at the start of the process (once it’s ordered).

Your car will be allocated a build week. The whole process “normally” takes about 12 weeks from start to finish, however, there are occasions (which are outside of your broker’s control) where the car can be delayed.  The car can be held up before it leaves the port of exit as the ship will not leave until it is completely full (this can delay things and sometimes upto 3-4 weeks).  It can also be delayed once it gets to UK Port as all cars need to be checked by Customs before they are released to the transporter company to take them to the dealer.

We do have an article detailing the lengthy process of a factory order car, which you can read here.

Stock car vs. Factory order; Which is better?

Honestly, they are both great options. It just depends which is better for you.

If you want a car that will arrive quickly and you aren’t too bothered about having a completely bespoke model, then a stock car is a good choice for you. However, if you have an existing lease contract that isn’t due to end for a few months or you want a car that has been built with you in mind, then a factory order is your best bet.

But ultimately, it’s down to what works best for you and your situation.

Stock car vs. Factory order; Which is cheaper?

Stock cars may have features or extras that you don’t want, and therefore may cost you more. That said, the dealership might be eager to sell the stock car and sell it at a discounted rate. There have been occasions where dealerships will make a loss just to make their quarterly or annual target. It should be stressed that this does not happen all the time, but we have seen it happen before.

family at a dealership with the mother and child looking at a car and the father talking to a car salesman

There are discounts available on new cars, but the discounts will vary between broker and dealer, so always best to check your options before committing.  

In conclusion – so always check when you are told that a vehicle is in stock – ask where the car actually is, because it doesn’t actually mean the car is sat at a dealership waiting to be delivered.  Your dealership or broker, will be able to give you this information.  

A stock car “should” take less time to be delivered (depending on where it is), but you don’t get a say in what features or additional extras you have in the car. A factory order, however, is the other way around. It potentially will take longer but you get complete control over what features you want in your car. Both have their pros and cons, but which one you opt for is entirely down to your individual situation.

Been promised a delivery date?  Click here to find out why your broker should not promise you a delivery date.

Holly Martin

Content Co-ordinator at OSV Ltd
Holly enjoys: Reading, music and spending time with friends.

Within a week of Holly starting work at OSV she became an indispensable part of the marketing team. She's very intuitive and gets on with the whole office effortlessly.
Holly Martin

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