How to Order a New Truck from the Factory

Updated on Nov 1, 2023

Are you looking to jump into a brand-new pickup? While most opt for pre-built, off-the-lot models, there’s always the alternative of special ordering, but what all is involved, and what are the benefits, if any? 

In this guide, we answer all these questions and more. We’re detailing every aspect of special ordering a new pickup truck, including the process, the upsides, and even some accessories every new truck owner should install to protect their investment. 

Is Special-Ordering a Pickup Truck Popular?

In the past, special-ordered vehicles weren’t always the norm. Until the past few years, dealers typically held massive inventories on site, often utilizing remote overflow lots to accommodate the colossal fleets. Today, this isn’t necessarily the case. Most dealerships have significantly diminished their on-site inventories. But why? What changed? 

If we look back at the past couple of years, the world faced a previously unexperienced event that led to astronomical manufacturing delays and supply shortages–the COVID-19 pandemic. These supply shortages meant that most dealers held insignificant inventories, as eager buyers quickly snatched up the few units they could acquire. During this time, buying a vehicle off the lot with your desired specifications became an unrealistic goal, so what happened next? 

Dealers began urging customers to special order vehicles; during the height of the pandemic, around 2021, some dealerships reported that up to 75 percent of all new vehicle sales were special orders! Sure, there was a wait time, but what’s a couple of months for your dream package, spec’d to your heart’s desire?  

Though the supply chain has since caught back up to approximately pre-pandemic efficiency, many dealers are still holding small inventories. Many consumers are also still opting to special-order, seeing as wait times are back down to 4–7 weeks, which makes perfect sense. With automakers charging such premiums, why settle for an on-site option without all your desired features? 

Unfortunately, most dealerships order only fully loaded models to sit on showrooms and dealer lots for the highest profit margin. However, not every consumer wants to spend an extra 20 thousand dollars on creature comforts and amenities! 

What Are the Benefits of Special Ordering a New Truck?

Special-ordering a new pickup truck offers several benefits over settling for something on-site. For starters, let’s talk about options. 

Modern vehicles, especially pickup trucks, have loads of available options, including: 

  • Paint colors

  • Interior colors

  • Interior amenities

  • Appearance packages

  • Wheel options

  • Drive configurations

  • Engine configurations

  • Axle ratios

  • Body, cab, bed configurations

Considering most truck owners use their pickups for a specific purpose, i.e., towing, hauling, working, off-roading, camping, options are essential. Some engine configurations are more effective for hauling than others, the same with gear ratios and body configurations. 

Alternatively, some cab configurations are better suited for hauling the kids to soccer practice. Essentially, special-ordering a pickup truck allows you to tailor every little minute detail to your liking, ensuring your perfect pickup ends up in the driveway, and it better be perfect for the 50 thousand-plus price tag! 

Another benefit is manufacturing incentives/rebates. Due to some dealerships’ preference of holding a small inventory and doing the majority of sales through special orders, you may fall into a sales deal that wouldn’t be available had you purchased your pickup directly off the lot!  

Lastly, let’s discuss convenience. Unless you need a new pickup at that very second, most consumers enjoy the comfort and convenience of sitting at a desk and checking boxes for their perfect truck. For most, this beats the pressure of traveling to different dealer lots in search of a specific color, configuration, and package.

Steps to Special Ordering a New Pickup

The special ordering process can vary by manufacturer; for instance, Toyota only accepts quarterly orders, so expect a longer wait for your Tundra and Tacoma. Aside from a few exceptions, the process is ultimately the same. Let’s cover the basic steps and tips for special ordering a new pickup.

Step 1: Know Your Preferences

Before even setting foot in a dealership, it’s best to have a thorough idea of your preferred brand, model, and specifications. If you aren’t sure, peruse websites and use their “build my xxxx” tools to compile your favorite options. These tools also aid in understanding which options are compatible with others, as some manufacturers only allow specific colors for specific packages, and so on.

Step 2: Visit Your Dealer

Depending on the manufacturer you choose, you may visit a dealership or a “store,” but what’s the difference? 

Dealerships are what we’re accustomed to in North America. Most flagship brands, like Ford, Chevrolet, and RAM, sell vehicles using franchised dealerships. These dealerships purchase vehicles at discounted rates and sell them, often above MSRP, to consumers for a profit. 

Alternatively, some smaller EV companies, like Tesla, Lucid, and Rivian, cut out the middleman and sell directly to customers. While these companies still have physical locations, called “stores,” they don’t carry any vehicles on site and won't directly sell you a new vehicle; instead, they’re there to assist with ordering and provide services to current owners. 

Since most manufacturers utilize franchised dealerships, we’ll assume this is your purchasing method. Once you have your order in mind, select a reputable dealer, find a salesperson you’re comfortable working with, and begin the order process!

Step 3: Place Your Order/Deposit

With your options selected, place your order with the dealer. As with purchasing an on-site vehicle, dealers will negotiate prices and file paperwork with you directly. Be sure to note any deals or incentives available, as they can save you thousands of dollars! 

At this time, you’ll need to pay a deposit, typically between $100 and $1,000, to guarantee your spot in line. While most deposits are refundable, some dealers may withhold deposits on specialty vehicles that will likely be difficult to sell. You’ll also receive approximate build, ship, and delivery dates.

Step 4: Await Delivery

At this point, it’s time to sit and wait! Most special orders are approximately 4–7 weeks out; however, this time may vary depending on the make, model, and options. Luckily, most manufacturers feature an online build tracker, in which you can input your order number and receive real-time updates on the status of your build! Once your new truck is en route, the dealer will alert you to schedule a pickup/delivery date. 

Top Accessories to Protect Your New Investment

After you receive your brand new pickup truck, we recommend installing some accessories to guard your investment; after all, what's a couple of hundred dollars worth of protection compared to a 60 thousand-dollar pickup? 

Seat Covers

There’s nothing worse than the first stain on your brand-new truck’s seats; why not avoid that moment altogether with a set of premium seat covers from RealTruck? We offer a wide selection of sleek, custom-fit seat covers, like the Covercraft Carhartt Precision Fit Seat Covers, that offer outstanding protection without sacrificing aesthetics and comfort.

Floor Liners & Mats

Like upholstery, your brand-new pickup’s carpet is highly prone to stains and wear. Before the first drink or muddy boot falls on the carpet, protect your investment with a set of durable, all-weather floor mats from RealTruck. Products like Husky Liners WeatherBeater Floor Liners offer outstanding protection and a sleek, form-fit design, boosting aesthetics and protection!

Bed Liners & Mats

While most new pickups come with spray-in bed liners, there’s no shame in installing an additional layer of protection on top! Products like the BedRug Classic Bed Liner and Gator Rubber Truck Bed Mat provide additional impact and abrasion protection, preventing unsightly dings and gouges. Additionally, most bed mats and liners feature a non-skid texture, preventing your cargo from sliding around the bed.

Bug Shields

Arguably worse than the first stain on your pickup’s new upholstery is the first chip on your otherwise perfect windshield. Prevent chips and bug splatter with a premium bug shield from RealTruck, offering a simple installation and exceptional front-end protection! Bug shields, like the AVS Bugflector® II Bug Shield, help to prevent rock chips and bug splatter by redirecting oncoming debris up and over the cab, keeping your new pickup clean and chip-free.

Bed Rail Caps

If you’re planning to haul cargo in your truck’s bed, invest in a set of premium bed rail caps to protect your painted factory bed rails against impacts and abrasions, like the Husky Liners QuadCaps Bed Rail Caps. We offer a wide selection of high-quality bed caps in various alloy and composite constructions, ensuring a product that matches your desired level of protection and aesthetic preferences! And don't forget to order a matching tailgate cap!

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