What is a Dealer Locate for New Cars?

When you are planning on buying a new car the last thing you want to do is settle for a vehicle that is not exactly what you want. A few chapters back there was a section about ordering a new car from the factory where I explained how the automakers schedule and build automobiles. However, if you want a vehicle that is not available at your local dealership your next option is a “dealer locate” for a new car. This is a very common practice today with new car dealers so they can offer you a wider selection of vehicles.

Today new car dealers have the ability to login to auto manufacturers online portals to manage their new car inventory. They can register sold vehicles, check on their in transit vehicles and track vehicles that are being built for their inventory. They also have the ability to check the new car inventory of other dealers and see what they have in transit and being built. This allows them to trade inventory with other dealerships as long as both dealers agree to the swap or commonly called the dealer locate.

Get The Car You Want With a Dealer Locate

When you go to the car dealer and they say they can get you a particular vehicle they are probably going to do a dealer locate. They might tell you that they are going to order the car or get it from the factory, but more than likely it will come from a dealer trade. They will usually ask for a deposit to get the car and then they will call dealers that they trade with that are showing the car in their inventory. They will ask them to trade the car and they will have to give the dealer a vehicle in return.

Dealers have the option to refuse a trade request from another dealer and will do so if they have a customer deposit on the vehicle. Then they will locate the next closest dealer to call, but if the vehicle is very popular they may refuse or request a very desirable vehicle in return. The process of trading between dealerships is strictly between dealers and the factory does not participate. Dealers can even trade vehicles that are in the building process or in transit, but all trading depends solely on the dealers.

When you want a vehicle with specific options and colors and you are willing to wait anywhere from a day to several weeks the dealer locate or dealer trade is the answer. Dealers do incur a cost because the vehicles need to be physically traded, but it is usually no more than $100 to $200. Whether you are willing to pay the extra to get your vehicle will be your decision. However you can get them to absorb this cost if you follow the rules of negotiation for buying cars.

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