Looking for another way to lower the price of your next car? Order a custom-built car from the factory, using a dealer as a conduit for the sale and delivery. Many Europeans purchase cars this way. But it's less common in the U.S., where dealerships tend to stock their lots with vehicles crammed with "popular" option packages, some of which tack on costly extras that you may not want or need.
A case study: Subaru's popular Outback wagon. Subarus on average sell after just 19 days on the lot, the quickest turnaround in the business. Outbacks move even more quickly, in just 14 days. That makes it tough to find a version with specific option packages, especially Subaru’s high-tech Eyesight system—a package that includes adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and precollision braking—available on Premium models starting at about $28,500.
Checking inventories recently at five Maryland and Virginia dealers, we spotted only two Outback Premium models equipped with Eyesight. More common is to find the system on top-of-the-line Limited editions, which are decked out with leather seating, a moonroof, a navigation system and other frills, pushing the sticker price above $35,000. "Outbacks in general are incredibly scarce," says Michael McHale, a Subaru spokesman. "Eyesight vehicles are popular, so they move quickest."
Ordering a custom-built car puts you in the driver's seat when it comes to features and option packages. For high-volume vehicles, delivery should take only a few weeks. And with a bit of cajoling, dealers are likely to match the discounts available on their cars in stock.
Note that when you place a custom order, manufacturer incentives such as cash rebates or zero-percent financing may not be available to you because those discounts kick in when a car is delivered to the customer, not when the order is placed. If the manufacturer trims or slashes incentives before you receive the car, the final transaction price could be higher. The good news: Most manufacturer incentives don’t fluctuate much from month to month.
Year-End Tax Planning for a Financially Healthier Retirement
Getting your tax ducks in a row for the end of the year can decrease your tax liability and make the most of your income, now and in retirement.
By Ryan Marston, Investment Adviser Representative Published
Where to Start Financially After a Life-Changing Diagnosis
Dealing with an illness, yours or your child’s or that of another loved one, is hard enough without adding financial duress. Here are some considerations and suggestions for covering expenses.
By Stephen B. Dunbar III, JD, CLU Published
Gas-Saving Tips That Actually Work
Buying & Leasing a Car When fuel prices rise, all kinds of gas-saving schemes get floated. We separate the serious from the silly for you.
By David Muhlbaum Published
Want to Lease an EV? There's a Tax Credit 'Loophole' for That
Tax Credits If you're trying to decide whether to lease or buy a car, here's what you need to know about how the EV lease tax credit works.
By Kelley R. Taylor Last updated
Car Buying in a Topsy-Turvy Market
You need a new car? Good luck with that! What should you do? We've got some answers.
By Katherine Reynolds Lewis Last updated
Watch Out for Flood-Damaged Cars from Hurricane Ian
Buying & Leasing a Car In the wake of Hurricane Ian, more flood-damaged cars may hit the market. Car prices may rise further because of increased demand as well.
By Bob Niedt Last updated
Car Buyers: The 3-Day Grace Period Is Just a Myth!
Buying & Leasing a Car Many car buyers think they have three days after making a purchase to return a car. Here’s where they’re going wrong, and what they should do instead to get a decent used car.
By H. Dennis Beaver, Esq. Published
PODCAST: Car-Buying in an Inflated Market with Jenni Newman
Buying & Leasing a Car With cars both scarce and expensive these days, what to do if you want – or need – a new ride? Car-buying strategist Jenni Newman of Cars.com shares some tips. Also, more on the magical 9% savings bond.
By David Muhlbaum Published
The "Real" Cost of Buying a Car
Brandon Copeland Atlanta Falcons linebacker and Kiplinger contributing editor Brandon Copeland illustrates how car prices are far more than meets the eye.
By Brandon Copeland Published
How to Get a Car Deal in This Market
Buying & Leasing a Car Low inventories mean it’s hard to haggle on price, but you can still negotiate on financing when shopping for a new or used car.
By Rivan V. Stinson Published