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Author Topic: Dealer versus Customer Order  (Read 795 times)
ZLP955
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« on: May 17, 2014, 01:36:00 AM »

Thanks to NCRS shipping info, I have confirmation that my car was delivered to a dealer only around 20 miles from the final assembly point. From the paperwork I got from the original owner, that car was first registered around 10 weeks after the official production date. I was told at the time of purchase that the car was bought off the dealer's floor stock, but am curious as to how common it was for a dealer to order stock without a customer order, especially as in this case, the car sat for ~2 months before purchase.
Suppose it could have been a demo?
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Tim - New South Wales, Australia
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SgtHawkUSMC
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« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2014, 02:25:01 AM »

am curious as to how common it was for a dealer to order stock without a customer order
I'm sure it was very common. Think about all the pictures of dealers lots where there are a ton of cars sitting out in the lot. Most, if not all, of those cars were waiting for buyers. I think a lot of your Yenko and Baldwin type Camaros were also ordered by the dealer without having a customer first.
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Hawk
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« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2014, 05:49:36 AM »

My 69 is an 08E transferred from GM to O'rielly Motor Co. on Sept 4th 1969. The first assignment was July 29th, 1970 according to the MSO. I would say that was from stock....Joe
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See America's First, Chevrolet

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1969 SS396 Yellow/Yellow 08E Norwood born 8/28/1969
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« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2014, 10:05:11 AM »

80%-90% of cars were delivered from dealer stock, just as they are today; very few people get excited enough about a car to order one and wait for it to show up. Those of us on this forum are the exception, but the average new car buyer is NOT a "car guy" - they just "need a car", and shop price or monthly payment. "Sold Orders" got priority for production over "Stock Orders", but there weren't a lot of them.
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'69 Z/28
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« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2014, 02:18:00 PM »

I have always been curious about that myself. I haven't sent in for the NCRS yet on my Z and all I know about my Z so far is that it came from Elkton, Maryland. From what I get so far is that all cars are built to order whether from what a customer wants to what the dealer orders for the public. So a dealer could order whatever he wanted just to get cars on the lot to bring in the walk in customers? I bet somebody was pretty busy at the dealer checking boxes on order forms or was that not the way it was done? I've never gone to a dealer and ordered a new car, just bought one off the lot so I had no clue how it was done.
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GaryC

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« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2014, 05:44:50 PM »

My great uncle was the sales manager for a Chevy dealer back in the day.  A whole lot of his job was figuring out what would sell and what car would bring a maximum profit.  He urged his sales personnel to sell what was on the lot.  If a car sat in the inventory for very long, he would push to get it sold at the weekly sales meeting, offer an incentive to get it sold, or try to trade it off to another dealer. 
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Phillip
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« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2014, 06:05:16 PM »

Thanks everyone for comments. John, I had no idea it was that high a percentage! I know that people are impatient these days, and don't like to wait for anything, but I guess you hear/read so much about people sitting down with the salesman back in the day and going through ticking the options list to create their car, that the perception is that most were customer ordered.
I guess that is a misconception now, since those of us who frequent enthusiast forums and read magazines dedicated to restoring and preserving our cars are the ones did, or who would have, special-ordered their cars when new.
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Tim - New South Wales, Australia
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« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2014, 07:27:00 PM »

I special ordered a 1999 WS6 Trans Am in March of 1999. In July of "99" they told me they would not build it as a 1999 and had to reorder it as a 2000. In October they told me it was being built, the car arrived on the 21st of November 1999. I went through a broker in Palm Springs, I live in Washington State. That is a long time to wait but the price was right and not many WS6's at my local  dealer, all sold plus they marked them up about 3K over sticker.
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« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2014, 09:18:08 PM »

Considering reply #3 (JohnZ) I believe 'specialty' models, like a Z, many were ordered by a customer to be specific or individualized to be a personal statement of the buyer as they were more of an enthusiast. On the other spectrum, a frugal buyer may want a sparse optioned car like the 68 RS 6 cylinder a recent member has and also were customer ordered. I was only seven in 69 so I cannot personally testify what exactly happened, but the evidence of "odd" cars and combinations attest that Camaros probably had more customer ordered cars than say, a buyer of a four door family car. All three of my cars have options that I consider odd and suspect are customer ordered. I'm sure the dealer knew certain colors and combinations that would sell and ordered such. Did GM influence dealer options and push some options? I am not refuting the 80-90%, just saying that percentage is probably on the high end for a car like a Camaro opposed to an Impala. I think it is the type buyer these cars attracted that reflect a more individualized ordering segment. Of my three, My Blue SS has special paint code, not sure a dealer would do this. My Yellow car is a 307, M20, U17,N44 car and odd. I have a hard time believing it was a dealer order, but could be. My SS 396 car has several low numbered options like remote mirror and rear defrost. It could be a dealer order, not sure. I guessed as close to Christmas as it was built, that it was ordered for a Christmas present. Regardless, I always like to check out a cars options that I know how the car came originally and wonder why it is as it is.
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« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2014, 09:48:35 PM »

A lot more cars were special ordered back then than today. Back then there were way more options unlike today where you just have 2 or 3 packages to choose from. Almost everyone I knew back then ordered a car. It was very common. I'd say over 50% were special ordered.
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Danny
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« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2014, 09:36:57 AM »

Danny,
JohnZ worked in the plants back then. And I have docs from several dealers. No way is it 50%.
80-90% seems about what I see too.
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Kurt S
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« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2014, 11:00:25 AM »

From what I get so far is that all cars are built to order whether from what a customer wants to what the dealer orders for the public. So a dealer could order whatever he wanted just to get cars on the lot to bring in the walk in customers? I bet somebody was pretty busy at the dealer checking boxes on order forms or was that not the way it was done?

Dealers spent a lot of time determining what styles/options/colors appealed the most to their customers, and ordered (by manually filling out order blanks) what they felt they could move out of inventory the quickest; every day a car sat on the lot, the dealer paid GMAC another day's interest on the wholesale financing, which reduced their gross profit.

I've probably had 100 new cars over the years (including about 50 GM and Chrysler-owned assigned Company Cars), and I ordered every one of them to suit my tastes; I've never bought or selected a car from stock.
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« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2014, 12:07:31 PM »

I worked for a former Chevrolet dealer for several years and heard many an interesting story about dealing with Chevrolet from the perspective of a dealer.

Fundamentally the factory can’t ‘stock’ finished goods although some had sales banks. So the dealerships had to hold the inventory. Also, you can’t sell from an empty cart so you have to have something for the pre-sold buyer that wanders in one day. Even in those days the composition of a dealer’s inventory was statistically driven by many factors: geographical location, average income, color preferences and so on. If Chevrolet found it had excessive inventory of slow-moving options dealers would be encouraged to order them.

I have copies of much of the paperwork from that dealership; they sold 99 1969 Camaros. The order form has a field for the customer’s name for ‘sold’ orders. Of the 99 28 were noted as sold, a bit over 28%. The remainder were ordered for stock and included Z/28s, SS and one Z11. To me anyway it is obvious why many of the 28 were special ordered-4 were Z/28s. Here are some of the others:

•   A67 GT1 L22 VE3
•   loaded SS $4413 list
•   C05 D55 D90 F41 G80 J52 L65 M20 N40 N65 PL5
•   A01 D33 D55 J52 N10 N40 U17 U63 ZJ7 Z22 Z87  
•   69 69 727  D55 M40 N40 PK8 U63 Z22 Z23
•   72 72 720 C60 D55 D90 J50 L65 M40 N40 PY4 U63 ZJ7 ZJ9 Z21 Z87
•   A01 C50 D33 D55 D96 PW7 T60 U35

For the most part they had unusual or many options and/or non-mainstream paint & trim.

« Last Edit: May 18, 2014, 04:17:17 PM by william » Logged
69Z28-RS
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« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2014, 12:27:10 PM »

I never worked for GM, and thus didn't have any special deals getting new cars (other than getting quicker good pricing by working for a supplier).    I've bought probably 20 new cars which included Chevrolets, Plymouth/Chryslers, Pontiacs.. etc.   I special ordered 4 of them, because I planned to keep the cars for a long while, and wanted them a specific way that the dealers didn't typically handle (as William, JohnZ points out).   

Based on my experience, and from many other cars purchased by friends and family, I agree with JohnZ's assessment that probably 80-90% are purchased off the lots, and 10-20% ordered as 'sold customer cars'.  In fact, from all my friends and family who have purchased new cars over the last 45 years, I only know of one friend who purchased a car for order.   I'd venture to say that MOST of the 10-20% of 'ordered' cars are by people who have special relationships with the manufacturer's (ie. employees who get special deals).

I typically go to a dealership for a new car with a list of options/colors/interiors that I want (from having perused the literature and the lots, making notes off the window stickers, etc).. so I know what I want.   I seldom trade in a car when I buy a new one.. so that did not influence me at all (as it does most buyers..  they buy where/when they think they are getting a good price for their used car - but that's an entirely different story!)..

Everytime I've ever gone in and buy and given a dealer my list of colors/options etc..   they *always* say..   We don't have one like that, but we can probably FIND you one from another dealer within a day or two...  sometimes that is true..  sometimes it isn't.  If I want those options badly enough in those last cases, I order it.   

Generally speaking a dealer will do just about anything to sell you a car from their inventory (or another dealer's inventory - because they trade one of theirs for it) rather than order it for you.   When I've ordered a new car, I've had to tell the dealers that if they won't order it for me, I will find another dealer who will..  only THEN have they been willing to order it..  Smiley

Gary
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Gary W.  /  69Z28-RS, 72 B 720 cowl console rosewood all tint
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Hot302
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« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2014, 02:06:02 PM »

Would it be safe to say that any first gen Camaro with the special paint code was special ordered for a customer?
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Rick
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