By on July 22, 2016

2016 Chevrolet Malibu

Driving off the dealer lot in a longed-for new vehicle is one of life’s richest pleasures, but there’s no joy if a buyer can’t find the chariot of their dreams.

Now, imagine that your dream ride is a gray Chevrolet Malibu — a 1LT model with two common options. Doesn’t that seem like an attainable goal? Shouldn’t be too hard to find, you’d think, right? Well, one would-be buyer says otherwise.

A poster on the GMInsideNews forum (GMI is a VerticalScope property, as is TTAC) related his aggravating quest to find his chosen version of Chevy’s well-regarded sedan. The quest continues, but it might leave Chevy without a sale, because they left him without a car.

Forum user Malibuman2010a (guess what he drives) wants to add another vehicle to his household. He knows what he wants: a 2016 Malibu 1LT, Nightfall Gray, with the optional Convenience and Technology Package and Driver Confidence Package. So, he takes a trip to his local GM dealer (where he bought his 2010 ‘Bu) and talks to the veteran salesman. When told what Malibuman2010a wants to purchase, the salesman talks to his manager. Eight days later, an email arrives.

The salesman has been on vacation, but assures the Malibu-seeking buyer that he’s been in touch with the manager about the request. Also: no dice on that gray Malibu. What are your second and third color choices?

“Why, no, I don’t have a second and third color choice,” says the poster. “I want a gray Malibu.”

The search for Malibu bliss takes our shopper online to the Chevrolet website. Hoping to locate his dream vehicle through the magic of the internet, the would-be buyer hits another brick wall. The website can’t pull up his local dealer’s information. “Please contact your dealership to locate and purchase your vehicle,” the website tells him. Sorry, try again.

Determined to get what he wants, the shopper then uses the website’s “search inventory” function. Another brick wall — the search tool doesn’t allow him to filter results using the option packages he wants. Only “popular options” are searchable, and even after selecting several “close enough” options, the search comes up empty.

“What is offered are Malibus without the options I want and with a bunch of crap I don’t, like splashguards and fabric protection,” Malibuman2010a writes.

“There is no way (on the web site) to order what I want, and I cannot see a way to expand my search to nationwide. All I can think is that this is the most ridiculous way to buy a car. I hope Tesla breaks the entire dealer franchise system. It is idiotic. Period. It’s like: give us $30,000, and we will sell you whatever we have. We don’t care what you want. Imagine going into a McDonald’s, ordering a Big Mac, and having the employee tell you ‘we can’t locate a Big Mac, here is an Egg McMuffin.'”

The unlucky Malibu fan in understandably pissed, and TTAC’s Jack Baruth no doubt understands his pain.

What’s Malibuman2010a‘s proposed solution? Ditch all trim levels, and have buyers chose their color and drivetrain choices. Option packages would be installed at the dealer.

Another forum poster found the right model through Cars.com, but the Malibu buyer didn’t like the idea of having 2,354 miles on a “new” vehicle. The search continues, though our Chevy loyalist is now looking at the 2017 Ford Fusion.

It’s no secret that dealers stock models with trim levels and options designed to satisfy the largest crop of buyers, but making it impossible to configure a domestic midsize sedan to one’s tastes will only lead to lost customers. GM extensively revamped the new Malibu to boost flagging sales, but their dealer practices and website just sent this customer into the arms of their rival.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

214 Comments on “All This Man Wanted Was a Grey Malibu...”


  • avatar
    JimZ

    You can “Build and Price” the Malibu the way he wants on the Chevy website, so he should be able to special order one that way.

    why doesn’t he do that instead of insisting on getting one today?

    • 0 avatar

      My interpretation of the post leads me to believe that he is trying to order but the dealer is not willing to work with him.

      The “Build and Price” section of the Chevy website is just an estimator. It does not allow you to actually put in an order, all it does is submit your request to local dealers that you select.

      For that reason, the dealer has to agree to put the order in for him.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        He immediately needs to proceed to a more willing dealer.

        • 0 avatar
          pbxtech

          CoryDL my experience with Chevy dealers (in Illinois) has been very disappointing too. GM really needs to get them on board before nobody goes in there anymore. I’d buy a Volt if I didn’t have to buy it from a Chevy dealer.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Nissan will sell you a LEAF for cheap!

            The new Volt is odd looking, I’m not sure if I like it yet or not. Looks smaller than the old one.

          • 0 avatar
            Fred

            All the Chevy dealers around Houston are hard sell guys. Further out in the country they become more relaxed.

        • 0 avatar
          Paragon

          The first thing you say when they tell you they can’t or won’t get you what you want is “What I hear you saying is that you don’t want my business, is that right? Because there ARE other Chevy dealers. Have a nice day.” Then walk away. If they would rather make excuses than do what it takes to make a sale, then they really don’t want your business.

        • 0 avatar
          Lack Thereof

          This is the one and only correct answer. Just go to a different Chevrolet dealer.

    • 0 avatar
      DweezilSFV

      He went to the Chevrolet website and did just what you suggested about a quarter of the way into the article.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        no he didn’t. it sounds like when he says “it was impossible to order” he means “I put in the options I wanted and it didn’t show me any cars in dealer inventory which matched.”

        When I say “order a car,” I mean, use the B & P to configure it the way you want, bring it to the dealer, ask them to put in the order to the factory to have it built for you.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Go to the site – it isn’t how it works as described by this person.

        You build your vehicle online you want (when their tool actually works, the GM configuration site sucks) and then when you get to the finish line you can search inventory.

        Inventory is searched based on all your specifications, model, trim, options, color, engine, tranny, etc. etc. You can pick a distance range too (although you can’t say show the whole country).

        If nothing is available exactly as you want it, it will include vehicles that are close to your specifications – and those are shown is a separate group.

        I call shenanigans. A few minutes on the Chevrolet website would show that things don’t work as this person is claiming in a forum.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          I used the Chevy website to build my C7 Stingray when they were a hot item. So, very few were in stock, and zero were configured like I wanted mine. Took my personal C7 build to my closest Chevy store and they said they have allocations, and they would order one – for $5k over list. Well, I work too damn hard to give away $5K so I traveled 20 miles and found another dealer with allocations. Gave him my build sheet, he processed the order for list (a deal at the time) and three months later the car was in my driveway. Can’t believe it is any different for a Malibu.

          That said, the website is a bit clunky and is in need of updating to make the use more intuitive and fluid.

    • 0 avatar
      Lack Thereof

      Many replies here are 100% accurate. When you get to the end of the “build and price” process, all you are given is a pretty picture of your car, and the MSRP that it would have if it did exist. You are allowed to search for “similar cars” from your local dealers. These similar cars are ONLY similar in (a)the major trim level and (b)the color. You are NOT given the option to order it.

      I will repeat that: You CAN NOT order a custom-build car from the Chevrolet website.

      The way GM and the dealerships want this to work, is that you get the MSRP of your dream build from the website, and fill out the web form to “request a quote” from your local dealer. Then the local dealer calls the customer, and offers them a car off of the lot that is CLOSE to what they configured on the website, at a price near/below the MSRP the website fed them for the dream build.

      Then the customer is supposed to be so thrilled at the screamin’ deal the dealership has offered them, that they take whatever’s been served up.

      • 0 avatar
        Jimal

        Apart from possibly Tesla, I can’t think of a single manufacturer or dealer website that will allow you to order a a car from a factory. You can inquire about cars in stock or en route from the factory, but ordering is a dealer-only function.

        • 0 avatar
          SaulTigh

          My BMW dealer, for what it’s worth, told me that if I gave them 8-12 weeks, the factory would build “whatever I wanted.” Not to give you the impression that this is Bentley or Rolls level of bespokeness, but that if it was an available option/configuration/color in the book, BMW would build exactly what I wanted.

          • 0 avatar
            sfvarholy

            My Audi dealer said the same thing when I ordered my 2006 A3 mid-summer 2005.

            The salesperson asked what I wanted, including options that normally would be contradictory (such as Sport and Comfort packages), they wrote it up and 2 1/2 months later I had my car – and I paid under MSRP to boot.

            No hassle.

            There is no reason why the guy could not find a dealer that would be pleased as punch to special order the car as he wanted it. If it were a really oddball selection, they may ask for a larger deposit, but other than that, only patience is required.

        • 0 avatar
          Russycle

          When I bought a MINI a few years ago, custom-optioned was their business model. Dealers stocked some cars, but they encouraged customers to configure exactly what they wanted and order through the dealer. I assume that hasn’t changed.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        “I will repeat that: You CAN NOT order a custom-build car from the Chevrolet website.”

        NOBODY SAID YOU COULD!!!!!!!!!

        we’re saying you can use the build & price to configure a vehicle the way you want it, then take that to a dealer and have them order it for you. if they won’t, find another dealer who will.

        Do you get it yet?

  • avatar

    How bout they configure them “right” the first time?

    Heated and ventilated seats should be standard.
    Rear parking sensors with display should be standard.

    The only major options should be seat material, safety nannies and moonroof.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      dealers order what they think they can sell quickly. So they are configuring them “right.” It just doesn’t line up with what this guy wants.

    • 0 avatar
      TOTitan

      BTSR “right” means different things to different people. Heres a perfect analogy….one of the reasons that I despise Trump and Republicans is that I believe that government has no right to legislate morality(abortion, gay marriage, etc). The GOP despite its govt is evil stance, wants to legislate what a woman can do with her body and what goes on in the bedroom. That is wrong….why….because morality means different things to different people, just like what is, as you say….”right”

      • 0 avatar
        sbspence

        Please don’t bring that kind of inflammatory rhetoric here. This is my safe haven away from all that political tripe! I simply want to read about all things automotive as an escape.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I don’t recall Trump saying a single negative thing about gays or gay marriage, Hillary on the other hand with her “wind vane” tendencies… He also spoke up against de-funding Planned Parenthood, at a Repub debate no less. He’s certainly said his fair share of inflammatory things, but I just hate to see people just spread mis-information and glom on a bunch of accusations out of the blue.

        • 0 avatar
          TOTitan

          Here you go direct quotes from the current GOP platform..”Institution of traditional marriage is the foundation of society”, “we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed”

          • 0 avatar
            threeer

            Why are we bringing politics into a discussion around “I wanted to order a Malibu a certain way?” I can find plenty of other sources (if I was inclined to want to beat my head against a wall…continuously) that will gladly cover each and every angle of our current political situation. Can we please…PLEASE (yes, I used caps this one time) keep the conversation focused on the topic at hand?

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Titan, you just can’t help from being divisive and inciting the rhetoric can you? I mean for Christ sake it’s an article on a Malibu.

          • 0 avatar
            JD23

            You must be so proud to support late-term abortion. For some reason, you feel the need to proclaim it to the world in the comments section of an article about a guy attempting to order a Chevy Malibu.

      • 0 avatar
        SaulTigh

        And how much success have they had, legislating “morality” in the last 30-40 years? Very little, yet many would vote for people who will take every freedom they can in exchange for support on a very narrow viewpoint that is not really threatened.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      I neither want nor need those features in my car. EVER.

      Cold buns in the Winter and hot ones in the Summer build character.

      As for parking sensors, I call them my eyes.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        @philadlj

        MY CAR GETS FORTY RODS TO THE HOGSHEAD AND THAT’S THE WAY I LIKES IT! – Abe “Grampa” Simpson

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        I hope you have x-ray vision, because you can’t see out the back window of most cars. I was driving a rental Taurus and had a guy tailgating me, and I didn’t know it, until I went around a sharp curve and saw him in my side view mirror. If you’re parallel parking, you need more than your eyes, or even sensors – you need a rear caamera, or a “momback”. Hint: never trust your significant other to be a momback.

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        >Cold buns in the Winter and hot ones in the Summer build character.

        To each his own. I don’t think they should be standard either, but it should be an easily ordered package, not locked out to high trim levels. We have seasons where I live, and heat is nice when it’s under 30, and cooling should be mandatory with leather in the summer.

        >As for parking sensors, I call them my eyes.

        Haven’t driven anything built in the last 5 years, have you?

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Not everyone wants to pay for blowy-seats.

      Hell, people who live in SoCal, Phoenix, Florida (BIG markets) often don’t even care about heated.

      “Configure it how *I* want it as standard” is great.

      For you.

      Probably not for the car makers who know more about their actual customers than you, though.

  • avatar
    Adam Tonge

    Chevy doesn’t let you special order a Malibu?

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      Probably, but a s**tty dealer might push you to settle for one they have on the lot. I’ve special-ordered most of the new cars I’ve bought.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        If you are going to special order a car, why can’t you order it with “conflicting” color options? There’s always some limit to combining an interior or exterior colors, or certain stripe packages with exterior colors. I know Chevy offers the option to override this restriction on the Corvette, but they charge $600 for the privilege.

        Maybe it’s because the car would lot poison if the person ordering a weird combo backed out of the deal.

        • 0 avatar
          Blackcloud_9

          Maybe if he ordered the car in “Lipstick Pink” with a fucia interior (I know, imaginary colors) but this is Nightfall Gray which is just another shade of Silver…and everybody LOVES silver.

        • 0 avatar
          Adam Tonge

          Because that’s how they are building them. It’s dumb. I should be able to pick whatever color Ford offers on the F150 to be paired with the two tone colors.

          • 0 avatar
            86er

            I second this motion. Bring back the two-toning.

            The odd tire mfr. still does a limited run of whitewalls at the end of the run (or however they do it) for certain brands.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            Ford does a two tone on trucks, but it’s with certain colors and not as sweet as the tri-tone they used to do (with matching bed topper!).

        • 0 avatar
          ct06033

          Funny you say this. I was at a BMW dealer a while back and they do a lot of special ordering (i guess BMW buyers are a picky group). Particularly Manual transmissions. For BMW, they are almost exclusively special order.

          Anyway, somehow on this topic we came to crazy special orders and he pointed to a car on the lot. It was a 435i in super man colors. Blue exterior with Yellow leather inside. It was special ordered then the buyer backed out (The penalty is actually quite low). That is a car that will stay on the lot a very long time and the dealer can’t send it back.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            They could repaint the outside 1990 Deville lemon chiffon yellow, and some old lady would buy it immediately.

          • 0 avatar
            threeer

            Yep…went to the local Bimmer dealer here in northern Bama and really wanted to test a manual trans 320i. No dice. I could have just about any flavor of 3-series I wanted, as long as it was a 328i and automatic. I guess it would have been pointless to attempt to get a manual trans, white with beige (cloth…no less) and sunroof variant. Maybe I need to move back to Europe…

    • 0 avatar
      Mike N.

      It seems like only BMW and Porsche (and the exotics, of course) are really big into special ordering cars. Probably because the owner community is really into it (availability of European/Performance Center delivery, etc. also play into it). Even then, I’m sure the dealers would rather not, but put up with it.

      A while ago I was looking for a VW GTI configured a certain way (and it’s not like VWs have a Chinese menu of options these days), and the dealer strongly encouraged me to either buy what was on the lot or to pick on that was in the queue (as-is, not re-configure it to my tastes, even if it hadn’t been scheduled for production). Said special ordering would take “months”.

      • 0 avatar
        Adam Tonge

        Ford will special order a car/truck no problem. Typical turnaround time is 8-12 weeks if it isn’t something in super high demand or production limited.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Okay, AWD two-tone Transit Titanium. Go!

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            Lol. It has to exist.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            *shakes fist*

            Your constraints ruin everything!

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            If I could order that, I would run down to the Ford dealership right now.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            While were discussing mythical creatures, I’ll take a Ford Transit Connect Wagon ST long wheelbase. I’m not hard to please I don’t need an RS version. :-P

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            We will develop an all new American VIP van segment!

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            Transit Connect ST sounds awesome.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            VIP, son. Ford Transit Connect Champagne Comfort.

          • 0 avatar
            theonlydt

            UK has an AWD Transit. Page 6 of the brochure http://www.ford.co.uk/cs/BlobServer?blobtable=MungoBlobs&blobcol=urldata&blobheadervalue1=attachment%3Bfilename%3D%22Transit_Van.pdf%22&blobheadervalue2=abinary%3Bcharset%3DUTF-8&blobheadername1=Content-Disposition&blobheadername2=MDT-Type&blobheader=application%2Fpdf&blobwhere=1214598990469&blobkey=id

            You may have to two-tone it yourself, but come on, AWD, diesel, AND it’s available in brown

      • 0 avatar

        It also figures in that the BMW/Porsche person probably has another car, or can borrow one. The person looking for a Malibu is replacing “old paint” which tossed up one too many parts…yesterday…and needs a car now,today,and does not have the luxury of having The Factory paint the car a custom color that comes on some other model but that Individual will do for you if you ask politely and pay, along with the cloth seats not in the US catalog.

        I’ve ranted against the Manager Special that is killing BMW, but it’s the car the know-nothing wants today. My fantasy lot of sport packages and manuals would not sell as well, regardless of merit….

        I’d go to carsdotcom and use advanced search. open up the search area and it will be there somewhere.

        Oh, and if you want to cry, look at the Golf catalog on line for Europe. There have to be 20 different colors. The only thing sadder is a Euro Honda catalog….engines, suspension and seats we can only dream about, or JDM at ridiculous expense…

      • 0 avatar
        heliotropic

        This is what will keep me in my MKVI GTI for a while longer. All I want is cloth seats and a sunroof, a combo that is offered in basically every other market except the US. Worse is that when you build a car on the VW site half the combos are marked “special order only,” if they were really special why don’t they offer any real choice.

        I think VW peaked with its options during the MKIV era, and each generation after is getting less and less.

    • 0 avatar
      jjster6

      I’ve taken very few Chevy’s off the lot. 4 out of 5 were ordered. No problem at my dealer.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    As always, this customer is NOT a customer of GM. He is instead a customer of a Chevrolet dealer (or any of the nearby dealers).

    His choices are limited to what the dealers choose to put on their lot. While there are some dealers who will reluctantly put in a special order, most are only interested in selling what sits on their lot.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      I’ve never bought a GM product, but I’ve also never had a dealer give me stick about ordering. a sale is a sale.

      • 0 avatar
        Coopdeville

        Not sure how it is at every mfgr, but ours would routinely say “we’ve built enough cars for now, thank you, we’ll ignore your order unless it’s for one we’ve already got sitting outside the factory.” And would then try to sell us 10 poorly optioned bad color cars under the threat of further order “delays.”

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Yeah, when I was shopping last winter, the Audi dealer [I was ogling an Allroad] was happy to let me order any Allroad I wanted, or have one on the boat sent to the dealer.

        (Hell, Audi will do *custom colors* for you, if you wanna pay.)

        I guess that’s the difference between a “luxury” brand and “just buy a damn Chevy from the lot” dealer.

        • 0 avatar
          JD23

          My experience ordering an Audi a few years ago was similarly painless and my car showed up two months to the day from placing the order for 6% below MSRP. It was far better than settling for a color combination or wasting thousands on pointless dealer add-ons.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        A Chevy dealer is just that, a dealer. Sure they would rather sell you what is on the lot, but if they don’t have it and you want it, they will order it for you. I totally understand the pressure to take what they have but in the end it is your money, and your say. Just be prepared to wait a few months. As we age a bit, anything that seems to slow down time a bit is a good thing anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      In 2005, all I wanted was a green xB1, with a manual. The local dealer takes my downpayment, promising to find me that car.

      Two days later, *I* call them, only to have them tell me they can’t locate such a car anywhere in the country. Within an hour, I find several online, including three of them at a dealer two hours away.

      Me: “I’ll buy this car (shows printout) if you bring it to Pittsburgh”
      Dealer: “No, that’s all right, you can go there if you like”
      Me: “I’d prefer to buy it from you”
      Dealer: “We don’t really do dealer trades”
      Me: “Then I’ll take my money back, thank you”

      Later that afternoon, I was returning from Cleveland in my new xB1, green, 5-speed. Not only did they lose that sale, they lost any future sales to me.

      • 0 avatar
        Paragon

        I’m with you on never going back to that dealer. Who could have had a sale but were unwilling to accommodate you. They neglect to realize that you will tell everybody you know to avoid that dealer. And then dealers wonder why they advertising dollars didn’t result in increased sales. A good reputation means more than they realize it does. There’s a wise old saying about treating others the way YOU WOULD WANT TO BE TREATED.

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        We had a dealer do the same thing to us with my wife’s mazda3, but to a worse extent. We had just started shopping so I hadn’t gone through the effort of locating a specific car yet.

        She wanted a hatch with a sunroof, which also mandated the Bose stereo; we were color agnostic at the time. They only had fully optioned or base hatches, none with just the sunroof/stereo package. They then lied and told us there were none on the east coast with that configuration, but they would happily cut a hole in the roof and install an aftermarket sunroof. No dice.

        I learned how to use Mazda’s inventory search tool when I got home. the dealer *one town over* had 4 units configured the way we wanted. Pick a color, an extra 20 minutes away. We bought one the next day from them, and I’ve actively told people in the area to avoid the first dealer.

  • avatar
    shedkept

    You can order a truck any way you want it. Case in point; a friend ordered an “high end Sierra” with rubber floor covering vs. carpet.

    Find another dealership, preferably one that owns multiple franchises. While GM (and their dealers) were offering 20% off on certain 1500 trucks recently, Hendrick was doing 25%. That’s the power of economies of scale.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      You can’t order a truck “any way you want it.” You can order a truck with whatever options and packages correspond to the trim and bodystyle. The Sierra has a rubber floor liner available on pretty much every trim level.

      Try ordering the 6.2L in a regular cab Silverado W/T.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        You can order combinations that aren’t in the published standard order sheet. That is a special order and you need someone at the mfg to sign off on that special order that is what turns an everyday garden variety order into an actual special order. Of course getting someone to sign off on the override is the trick. If you have a Fleet ID number you are much more likely to get there from here. There is a reason that you’ll sometimes find cities and companies with vehicles from different manufacturers that are painted the exact same color and that color is one that isn’t normally available from any of those companies.

        Ford will do it too, take a look at some of the vehicles that Ford has made for U-haul. The E series cutaways with the mini extended cab is one example of a vehicle they built that does not appear anywhere on Ford’s regular order sheet. The pan for the 4R7x family of transmissions there were used on U-haul’s E-series is unlike the ones used on any other application of that transmission, it has a higher capacity and a drain plug. The C6 also stayed in the U-haul trucks after it was gone from the regular order sheet.

        So yes you can order vehicle combinations, at least from some mfgs, that are not listed on any regular order sheet.

        One guy and a Malibu probably isn’t going to get a special order approved, but what this guy wants isn’t a special order, it is a regular order. His problem is that is working with a crappy salesperson and dealer. Though at this point in the year it is probably too late to put in an order for a 2016.

        • 0 avatar
          Adam Tonge

          I am not U-Haul or Terminex. They aren’t going to order something for me off the books unless the dealer can install it once they get it.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            If the dealer knows the right person at the mfg they probably can order that combination that it is possible to put together on the assembly line that isn’t on the order sheet. But you have to find that dealer that is willing to make it happen.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            I should have tried to order my C-Max in tangerine scream.

        • 0 avatar
          SC5door

          “There is a reason that you’ll sometimes find cities and companies with vehicles from different manufacturers that are painted the exact same color and that color is one that isn’t normally available from any of those companies.”

          Those companies set up color standards with paint suppliers. For instance, per Michigan State Police specifications, the color is the “same as Dulux 93-032”. PPG, NB Coatings or Axalta can all produce this color and can be correctly (application can push color trend/position one way or another) applied to vehicles to match the standard that MSP has setup. Which is why MSP has Chargers, Tahoes, and Ford Interceptor Utilities/Sedans in the same exact color. Ford has whole list of VSO colors that fleet buyers can choose from with a minimum order required—for Ford it’s 5. There’s quite a lead time on new colors though as those vehicles have to be reviewed by design quality for color match to exterior painted hang on components.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Ford switching to a min order of 5 is probably the reason that the local city I used to live in started going with the basic black and white livery. For years they had their distinctive blue. Because it was a small city they don’t order that many cars per year and when they started dabbling in SUVs they had a sole Expedition in their blue to go with the last of the Whale Caprices still in their fleet and the Crown Vics that were the bulk of their fleet at the time.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            they also have to do the environmental and adhesion testing for a new paint.

      • 0 avatar

        God, that would be a brilliant sleeper.

        • 0 avatar
          Adam Tonge

          I didn’t even think of that, but yes it would be. 6.2L, RWD, short bed, 8-speed. Goodness gracious.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            You’re going to get a Dave of The North all worked up.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            The cheapest, lightest weight, shortest wheelbase F150 that you can order the 3.5 EcoBoost in would be a heck of a sleeper as well.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            Ford $31K you can get an F150 regular cab with the 8 foot bed, the 3.5TT, XL Sport Package, and heavy duty payload/trailer package.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            You can get the same thing with the 5.0L and short bed for cheaper.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            I’m not worked up. I want a crew cab 4×4. Dont need a standard cab tire burner. I do want the 6.2/8AT combo though. Corey, why do you summon me each time a 6.2L GM truck is mentioned?

            Relevant to the story… I factory ordered my Verano. I found an approachable sales guy and said, “I’d like a stickshift Verano please”.

            Honestly though, there is a comment above that you can extra special order trucks. Is that true? Could I get a 6.2L Sierra SLT All Terrain with heated power cloth bucket seats and 18″ rims and sunroof?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            And thus began the story of Dave’s Favorite Buick Evar!

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @ Davecalgary, IF you know the right person that knows the right person to override an order a lot is possible but if they don’t offer heated seats in cloth then no you aren’t going to be able to order heated cloth seats because there are none in the factory to put in. Now if you were going to order a huge number of them then you could negotiate a price to make that happen. If it is made with parts they normally have on hand and it is possible to put them together the right person can probably make it happen.

            On the other hand go talk to Costco and convince their guy that the combination you desire will be a big hit and let them negotiate the next Kirkland edition Silverado to be your truck. You only need them to think 3000 people will be willing to ORDER that truck.

            Yes their is a Costco edition Silverado, only available to be ordered for a customer with a Costco membership. https://www.costcoauto.com/gm/ better hurry less than 400 left. It is interesting that they appear to have sold out the 2wd version as everything now says they are 4wd but when they had one at my local Costco they said you could get it in 4wd or 2wd.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            Dave-

            You can’t order a truck “any way you want it because that’s the way you need it”, but I think you could get those options on a truck because the dealer could source what you are missing. They’d probably have to swap your stock leather seats for cloth seats from another truck. Good luck with that…

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Don’t stop believing, Dave!

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            Hopefully this will be a successful Journey for Dave. He loves the Sierra, Faithfully. However, after the issues with the Verano, Dave and GM might have to go their Seperate Ways.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            I’ve started looking at RAMs. After my Verano how bad could FCA be?

            (I’m not SERIOUSLY looking at RAM, but… They are damn good looking and FCA is known to buy out leases to get people into their product…)

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            I do not like Green Eggs and Ram
            I do not like them Dave I Am

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            I actually really like RAM trucks! Im just worried about FCA quality issues and low ranking. I dont want to just go from spending time in the GM dealer to hanging out in the RAM dealer!

  • avatar
    TTAA

    Yea this seems like a self created problem. You gotta order the car-

    You would never find a BMW, Porsche, etc on the lot exactly like you want either.
    That’s the negative of having lots of options, and why the Japanese simplified with a narrow offer of two or three trims levels w/no options-

    If you do the math, on a car like the Malibu- the number of possible configurations is in the thousands-.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    If the one you want exists far away, go to a (better) Chevy dealer and get them to do a deal for you, and transport the car over to said dealer on a truck.

    If building online isn’t appealing, the option I just outlined above doesn’t seem difficult.

    Alternatively, spend some more time on Cars.com to find one slightly closer.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      I can give him the name of 10+ Chevy dealers in the Detroit area that will order him a Malibu today.

    • 0 avatar

      The problem here appears to be that the dealer is trying to sell what they have on hand.

      Finding one farther away and asking the dealer to do a dealer trade is an option but even in that case, both dealers have to agree to it.

      Going on Cars.com or Autotrader is a helpful suggestion but why should a customer have to go to a third party website to find your product?

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I agree! The dealer should be willing to put in the work for you. Customer service and all that.

      • 0 avatar
        Adam Tonge

        I can’t believe that this dealer doesn’t want a sale. He needs to find a dealership that wants to sell him a car.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        When I purchased our current SUV I had found two acceptable options in our state. Neither of the dealers that had those trucks wanted to sell it to me at a good price. I went to a 3rd dealer, that participated int he Costco program. I told him the exact vehicle I had built on the website. He took a few minutes and quickly found those same two vehicles. He passed that info on to his boss who got on the phone. The closer dealer didn’t want to trade or sell it to them. The other dealer that was farther away didn’t want to trade, but was willing to sell it. So the boss came back and said I’ll have it tomorrow evening, I’ve got to send someone down with a check tomorrow since that dealer doesn’t want to do a trade. The next evening I was driving off in the exact vehicle I wanted and at a good price.

        So yeah finding a dealer that wants to work with you to make the sale is key.

    • 0 avatar
      Paragon

      I’ve gone out-of-state to buy a car more than once. And, would do it again if need be. I suggest others do likewise if getting the exact car configured exactly like you want is important. I mean, when I am spending MY MONEY to buy a car, I am NOT letting some salesperson sell me what he wants me to buy.

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    I can relate. Last month my wife wanted a Red Golf Wagon with tan interior. It is the limited model and there are no options you can get on it. I live in the DC area, lots of VW dealerships. None could be found. VW web site stated contact local dealer. Local dealer said none could be found. All wanted to sell me one with a black interior (black vinyl interior with a Pano roof and all the extra glass from a wagon, no thanks) They had to bring one in from NJ for me and I paid $700 more for the privilege.

  • avatar
    missmySE-R

    Went through a similar experience myself. Was shopping for a Dodge Journey of all things (Crossroad Plus, AWD, V6, plus several options) and was shocked to find that none had the option set I was looking for, and my wife and I were even agnostic as to the color.
    We ultimately ended up ordering the vehicle, but the 2+ month wait was pretty painful. Never thought I’d have to go through that for such an ordinary vehicle.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Doesn’t Chevy (like every mainstream manufacturer) offer like 5 shades of grey/silver on the every model anyway?

    Eff grey, I want a Malibu LT2 in that shade of green that was extra cost on the 1st generation Cruze.

  • avatar
    abhi

    I see one at Sheboygan Auto am I missing something? Boolean searches are your friend! Now it may have some other things on it but they’re advertising it already 5k off of MSRP. I have no idea what these things go for..

  • avatar
    danapellerin

    I hate this about buying cars too. I picked up a Hyundai last year and had to go with a color I didn’t want because the only packages available in the color I wanted were crap.

    They should do it like they do with motorcycles. Everyone buys the base model and then starts adding accessories to fit them. The dealers would probably make more money too.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    This is a lazy dealer end of story, and if i read correctly this is a repeat customer to that dealer, find new dealer ASAP

    • 0 avatar
      Acd

      Agree. Letting a customer dangle on the hook for 8 days and then to tell him the car he wants is not available shows a poor job by the salesperson/manager/dealership. The next time that store misses their sales target they may want to look in the mirror because they aren’t doing a very good job accommodating their customers who actually want to business with them.

      • 0 avatar
        Paragon

        Yeah, the dealership sales people were unwilling to put in any real effort in order to earn a commission. So they failed to get a sale, and a commission, for being lazy..

        • 0 avatar
          Truckducken

          More likely, the dealership wanted to get rid of the Malibus already on the lot badly enough to risk losing a sale, in the hope that the buyer would fold and buy something on the lot here and now. Old GM mindset lives on at this stealership…

          • 0 avatar
            Paragon

            To be fair, isn’t it the old GM mindset that led to diminished sales for GM all while Toyota, Honda and Datsun/Nissan began to garner more and more sales, and sales continue to flourish for the foreign brands. It kinda goes along with the notion that there’s no fool like an old fool. Entrenched ways of thinking and doing things simply does bode well for success. Learning from the past or learning what DOESN’T work should provide a path to what does work.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            When did Honda, Toyota and Nissan start promoting special orders for their American customers?

    • 0 avatar
      stevelovescars

      I agree. He seems like a very loyal Chevy Malibu customer. No offense, but there can’t be too many of those. So, to let him dangle like this is idiotic.

      For a normal customer, however, special ordering would put him at a negotiating disadvantage. The dealer is likely to take thousands off of MSRP if the car is on the lot and the deal will close today (particularly if it’s near the end of the month). But order the car and the dealer fears you’ll flake and may be stuck with a car loaded with options that will be hard to sell. You’ll pay closer to sticker and likely be asked for a hefty deposit. This wouldn’t matter to this guy, I presume, but if still wants the car below invoice I can understand the dealer’s hesitancy. We don’t know the other side of the story.

      I’ve worked for two OEMs and changing a build order could usually be done easily and sometimes a few days prior to the planned build date. The manufacturer would rather build a car that’s ordered to spec and pre-sold than load up inventory.

      A few years ago I custom ordered a Fiat 500 Abarth from the dealer exactly like I wanted it (black, no stripes, and no other options at all). There was no fight and I wasn’t in a hurry to get it. It took about 8 weeks and that car had to be shipped and there was model year change in the middle. It was easy, they just changed the options on an allocated unit and I gave them a $500 refundable deposit. The problem here is the dealership.

  • avatar
    Upthewazzu

    I was half tempted to just move past this due to the hatred of the last gen Malibu but the same exact thing happened to me when I was shopping for a ’13 in GRAY! I figured it would be easy, I mean all I wanted was a 2 LT gray Malibu with leather and couple simple packages (can’t remember what they were). Not so. My dealer did actually work with me and looked all over the PNW region and beyond but no dice. I was shocked at how “rare” a pretty basic color/package combination of a standard domestic midsize sedan could be. Anyways, the dealer just ordered one from the factory for me. I waited a month or so and off I went. Until I traded it in 1.5 years later on a RAM 1500!

  • avatar
    ajla

    This was several years ago, but I remember my Grandmother needing to visit about 4 dealers before she could find one willing to custom order her Oldsmobile Silhouette.

    And, then they still screwed it up so I’m not sure if they even properly made the order in the first place.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Your grandmother was clearly a fan of luxury, and vans.

      • 0 avatar
        Adam Tonge

        The Cadillac of minivans.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I remember growing up, my grandparents preacher had a gen 1 Silhouette. White with red cloth interior, and a black body accent stripe that said SILHOUETTE along the side.

          Always liked it!

          Edit: This!

          http://auto-database.com/image/oldsmobile-silhouette-1990-pictures-135080.jpg
          http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-mx0d-OhNUxk/VDddVchrF8I/AAAAAAAAS3s/QswTHgWoPC0/s1600/1990-Oldsmobile-Silhouette-minivan%2B355.jpg

          So awesome. Them lace alloys comin correct.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          I reserved a Cadillac.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        She wanted a Silhouette Premier in red with the gold logos and black interior, every option but with no sunroof.

        They “ordered” her a Premier one in white with the tan interior and no towing package.

        She refused to take that one but ended up accepting a huge discount on a highly-optioned black on black (but silver logos) GLS, which was the only one they could find around with the towing package.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          If you are going to special order a car, why can’t you order it with “conflicting” color options? There’s always some limit to combining an interior or exterior colors, or certain stripe packages with exterior colors. I know Chevy offers the option to override this restriction on the Corvette, but they charge $600 for the privilege.

          Maybe it’s because the car would lot poison if the person ordering a weird combo backed out of the deal.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            OK, that was supposed to post under Adam’s comment about ordering. Having issues with the site today.

            Ajla, how long did your grandmother have to wait for her incorrect “order” to come in? I would have been furious to wait 8 weeks for an ordered car, and the wrong thing showed up.

        • 0 avatar
          CobraJet

          My Dad told me years ago about ordering a new 55 Ford in Blue over White. When it arrived it was White over Blue.
          He said that is not what I ordered. The dealer said no problem, come back in a few days. They sent the new Ford to the body shop and had it repainted Blue over White. Dad kept calling to see if the car was ready. They said the paint wasn’t dry yet. Finally after about a week he went to pick up the car. There were fingerprints on the car where the shop people kept testing to see if the paint was dry.

    • 0 avatar
      Jagboi

      My Dad wanted a Plymouth Volarie with a 318 V8 and manual transmission. Of course, that didn’t exist, so did a factory order. Car came in and it had the 225 slant 6. Oops. Dealer had to order it again, and this time it came in with the V8. Total POS car, but that’s a different story.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        What year? I had a ’79 Aspen which was essentially the same car, albeit automatic 318 and put some 70K miles on it in four years without any major issues (had to pop the lower radiator hose and bang out a dented tube that apparently came from the factory that way. Caused a slow leak under pressure that was surprisingly easy to detect and repair without going to a shop.) Sure, it vanished the top quart of oil on every oil change but wouldn’t use another drop after that. Didn’t like driving at 14K feet (climbing Pike’s Peak) but otherwise was a pretty solid car.

        That was my first and only Chrysler product until I bought my Jeep.

  • avatar
    Ion

    This seems to imply he’s stubbornly searching through dealer inventory for the exact car he want’s or he’s trying to build the car in a way that it’s not configurable in. So he needs to either realize that GM builds cars that get ordered (by the dealer or customer) and not what Joe Schmoe might stumble in and buy. Or he needs to go to one of those dealers whose inventories he’s searching and special order the car.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    Wow this guy sounds like th life of the party.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    Wow this guy sounds like the life of the party.

  • avatar
    JustPassinThru

    The problem is a simple one, and one that won’t go away until Chevrolet wishes it so.

    They don’t have the system in place anymore for a customer to special-order one unit in a color/options combo that a particular buyer wants.

    In this age of electronic data management, it should be easier than in the era of paper-slops routed to one of several assembly points. But it’s not – these dealers want to streamline their product conduit and don’t want to spend any additional time on one order.

    And anyone who thinks the way to solve this is to abolish dealers, has not spent any time talking with someone who direct-ordered a Chinese motorcycle delivered to their home. With no real factory support, no presence, no way to get parts or service or be steered to where he can…it’s a true orphan.

    The problem is not the dealers but the system. And if a shade of grey is that important, and you do not want to respray a new car…find another make.

    Which is also something GM-brand dealers have always been comfortable with. They’d rather let a customer with money walk, than give him what he, the customer wants but which requires the dealer’s efforts.

  • avatar
    M1EK

    The McDonald’s analogy is completely dumb. Go in and try to order a Big Mac and add two things and take two other things off, and see how well most of them do at getting you your order correctly and quickly.

    The equivalent of “Big Mac” vs “Egg McMuffin” is a different car model, like “I asked for a Malibu and they gave me a Cruze”.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      McDs might be quick, but try ordering a burger without cheese.

      • 0 avatar
        sbspence

        OR … Better yet try to go in and order a regular hamburger add quarter onions, leaf lettuce, and tomato. 90% of the time it is not correct when you hungrily unwrap it. Top that off with a small order of fries, sans salt, and all but the most veteran McDs cashier’s furrowed brow will glisten with sweat AND they’ll curse you under their breath the rest of their shift.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Others are not exempt. Sonic couldn’t get right the simple action of adding green chili to a chicken sandwich. First time they brought me a Chicken Club with green chili, second time they brought me the right sandwich – sans green chili. (This was two separate visits BTW) 1st time I didn’t even look at the damn sandwich until I was already on the road and late for my next appointment.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          They’re cursing you over the fries because it means they have to make a custom batch for you, and that IS a pain in the ass.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          you’re one of those people who has to modify every single part of your order, aren’t you?

      • 0 avatar
        Rick T.

        My annual visit to Wendy’s proves this to be the case. They NEVER leave the cheese off the first time around.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        I always do (I hate lame American cheese on a burger).

        It guarantees my burger is fresh cooked, but sometimes it takes an extra 60 seconds.

        And sometimes the line cook Literally Cannot Believe You Wanted That and you get cheese anyway, so I have to take it back in…

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      “Go in and try to order a Big Mac and add two things and take two other things off, and see how well most of them do at getting you your order correctly and quickly.”

      I do this… well, too much, and it almost always works out fine. At various ‘establishments’, no less. McD’s has a pretty good system set up; it takes a really inexperienced room-temperature-IQ cashier to truly screw things up.

  • avatar
    deanst

    If your dream ride is a gray Chevy Malibu, just give up; give up now.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      Look, my dream ride is an RS7. Between me and this guy, which one of us most likely to live his dream? There’s something to be said for aiming medium.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I really want a beige Camry LE with wheel covers!

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          You probably earn enough and you don’t have kids… go for it!!

          And then swap dog dishes for the plastic covers!!!

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Ha.

            If I’m buying something way boring, Accord it be for me. I mentioned the LE because I saw a circa 1999 Camry this morning which was oddly optioned.

            LE
            Cloth seats
            V6
            Gold badging
            Wheel covers

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            That gold badging looked damn good on vanilla!

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            You shan’t get an argument from me there. As a youngster I admired many a taupe Corolla with gold badges.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            There was something, dare I say it, *scrumptious* about those.

            Mmmm… synesthetic car munchies.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          The best thing about Toyota wheel covers is they come off!

          On the way home*!

          (* My ’94 Toyota pickup lost one on the way home from the dealer.

          When I got my ’05 Corolla from my parents when they upgraded, I lost one within a week.

          And it’s not like I drive like a maniac or hit curbs – I just can NOT keep a wheel cover on a Toyota, somehow.

          Never lost a hubcap on my Mercedes … but they were metal and held on with serious clips.)

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            This Camry still had all four factory wheel covers, seriously. I always check something like that because I have no life.

          • 0 avatar
            frankev

            I think Hyundai/Kia has come upon the best solution for preventing loss of wheel covers. On both the 2009 Accent I owned and my current 2011 Sedona, the lug nuts secure both the wheel and the wheel covers.

            That being said, I always hated the Chevy Aveo wheel covers that featured fake lug nuts.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            @frankev

            GM did that for years, especially on N bodies like the Pontiac Grand Am. Funny when some shade tree gets the wheel bolted on, lowers the car and then tries to put the wheel cover on. D’oh!

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “I think Hyundai/Kia has come upon the best solution for preventing loss of wheel covers. On both the 2009 Accent I owned and my current 2011 Sedona, the lug nuts secure both the wheel and the wheel covers.”

            wow, they invented something GM did 30 years ago.

      • 0 avatar
        Rick T.

        I always try to have dreams that are medium rare.

  • avatar
    oleladycarnut

    My experience with dealers is they always want to sell you what is on the lot. The latest example is I was interested in a 16 Honda Accord Coupe EX-L with sensing. The car had been on the lot for two months according to CarGurus. It already had 160 miles on it. Even though after test driving it, I knew I didn’t want it, I asked the salesman (one who had repeat business from me over the past 8 years), how I could get a new one that wasn’t a demo. His response was, “If you want this model, you’ll have to take this one. That’s not many miles.” Not.

    When I was interested in a Ford Mustang several years ago, my closest dealer immediately offered to order me up a Mustang built the way I liked. I just couldn’t pull the trigger, but I have since referred friends to him just because of his refreshing willingness to work with the customer.

    Two years ago I special ordered a 15 Subaru Outback. The dealer had no qualms about accepting a special order, and my understanding is it is common practice to spec order Subarus. The Outback order took about six weeks to build and deliver.

    I went the MINI route again for my own DD as I can’t seem to get them out of my blood. My 2016 MINI Cooper S should arrive at the dealer this weekend after a two month wait. Like its mother BMW, MINI can be ordered up to the customer’s specifications. My MINI dealer searched the US for a combo like I built. There was no car on the ground, nor one incoming that met my particular Art Deco leaning build.

    My days of taking what is on the lot as a second choice are over. However, I don’t foresee dealers changing much as none of my friends have the particular car fetish fascination as I have, so I do believe our ilks are in the minority.

    • 0 avatar
      Coopdeville

      We had a customer who wanted an oddball, expensive car from another dealer, 170 miles away, which we didn’t want but went after anyway to keep his continued and valued business. When it arrived (with 175 miles on it) he refused to take the car and was quite irate that we didn’t trailer it, which he had neither the equipment nor the will to do so had he asked up front. Can’t remember if we sent him packing or he ended up ordering, it was a long time ago.

      As a buyer of many new, demos, open-box, and used items, I have to ask, why is it that 160 miles on a new car was so offensive? To each their own I understand, and I’m not trying to be critical although I can come across that way. But…legally and in many peoples’ minds, that’s not a demo, it’s new. Honestly not much can go wrong in that time unless they were doing demos through a field.

      I bought a motorcycle off the showroom floor with 0.0 miles on it, and frankly I was uncomfortable being the first person to start and ride it at all. What if the wheel wasn’t screwed on correctly from the factory and I was the first guy to find that out, catastrophically?

      • 0 avatar
        dwford

        Some people are just picky like that.

      • 0 avatar
        JustPassinThru

        Why would someone not want one with those miles?

        Because the first miles are the critical ones. A salesman taking a model home for a week has no special need or urge to baby the cherry motor. Nor a test-ride prospect; and CERTAINALY not a minimum-wage car porter moving a car from one dealer to another.

        Shopping for a VW Fox with my ex, thirty years ago…the salesman, sitting in the passenger seat, jammed the gearshift into reverse. He thought she was having trouble finding reverse; in fact she was pausing finding another control, which the salesman couldn’t see. She hadn’t been stepping on the clutch; but he grabbed her wrist and slammed it into reverse. It went in with a bang and the car jumped as it stalled.

        “Don’t worry…we’ll find you another one,” he glibly said. Sure…but had he been driving THAT one, too? And someone would buy the one he’d just monkey-hammered the transmission on.

        As it happens, she wanted a color which wasn’t readily available and we bought one out of a shipment that hadn’t yet arrived. And it was in acceptable shape.

        But THAT is why a discerning buyer might not want a car with 175 miles on it.

        • 0 avatar
          oleladycarnut

          Yep, I’m darn sure picky when it’s my money I’m plopping down.

          If a car has 160 miles on it, to me it’s a demo. Why else would it have those miles on it? Legally it’s new, yea, because it hasn’t been sold yet. But, new to me means straight off the truck without anyone else driving the car before I buy it, or if I test drive it, I buy it.

          Yes, it could have been driven down from another dealer and then the customer didn’t buy it. How do I know whoever drove the car down drove it the way I would.

          So, yea, some people are just picky like that and I’m one of them.

          • 0 avatar
            dwford

            So YOU want to be able to test drive a car on the lot and put miles on it, but then demand some other car with zero miles on it. Suppose the dealer told you, this one car right here is the demo, you’re not allowed to test drive any of these other cars, but you can buy one of them if you like driving this demo. Would you buy one of those cars that you hadn’t actually driven? Of course not.

          • 0 avatar
            JD23

            “Suppose the dealer told you, this one car right here is the demo, you’re not allowed to test drive any of these other cars, but you can buy one of them if you like driving this demo. ”

            Actually, I think that’s a reasonable request. Sorry, I have no desire to pay $50k for a supposed new car that may have been subject to full throttle acceleration soon after a cold-start or similar antics.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “When I was interested in a Ford Mustang several years ago, my closest dealer immediately offered to order me up a Mustang built the way I liked. I just couldn’t pull the trigger, but I have since referred friends to him just because of his refreshing willingness to work with the customer.”

      cars like Mustangs seem to be a special case. The dealers in my area keep very few in stock.

  • avatar
    Waaghals

    About a decade ago, my father ordered a brand new Mondeo from a local dealer -to spec.

    Naturally there was some waiting time, and after a few days he decided that he wanted a bigger engine.

    Unfortunately, the car he ordered was locked for production, and the dealer couldn’t change the specs. They then offered to swap it for a very similar Mondeo, with the same equipment, and the upgraded engine that they had in stock.

    While the ordered car had a slightly more eccentric and harder to sell color, he did not have to pay anything more than the mark up for the bigger engine.

    I had no idea that getting the dealers to play ball was that hard across the pond.

  • avatar
    V owner

    Toyota’s website is no better. They say you can order a base LE Rav4 with the Entune app suite with Nav…. but try to find one. about all the dealers around here stock with Nav is the top-of-line Limited, occasionally with a rare mid-trim XLE with Nav. Entune Nav is not a great system but it is usable. Most of the Prii family comes with it, yet it’s not spread through the more popular models. The Toyota site can raise your hopes, but when you get to local stock at dealers… forget the NAV on a Rav4 LE. Buy a higher trim and pay thousands for stuff you didn’t want.

    • 0 avatar
      MrGrieves

      Toyota’s build your own tool is horrendous, especially if you live in the terribly dysfunctional Southeastern distribution area. You can’t build the car you want, you can basically use it to filter thru the area dealers’ inventory to “match” it to the vehicle that is closest to what you want.

      But in the end it all comes down to the dealer. The only brand that I have had any luck placing an order with is BMW. Very responsive to my request. I had to wait 2 months for my car, but it was totally worth the wait.

      I’ve tried ordering with the local Ford and Subaru dealers and they made it perfectly clear that it wasn’t in their interests. The Ford dealer would have placed the order, but they wanted a non-refundable “processing” fee of $500 which would not have gone against the price of the car.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    After reading the comments, I’m going to take what I said above one step further.

    MOST dealers don’t want car enthusiasts for customers.

    (and even if the fellow in the story wants something most so-called “enthusiasts” would consider boring and ordinary, this buyer is enthusiastic enough to know precisely what he wants. That makes him an enthusiast by me.)

    Enthusiasts are smart buyers. Not only do they know what they want, they have also researched and studied the car-buying process.

    There is less profit to be made in selling a car to someone who has studied how to work the system. So don’t go telling me “a sale is a sale”.

    The people that car dealers want as customers are the people who walk in and say, “I need a new SUV. I want to spend under $400 per month, and my wife likes blue. Whaddaya got?”

    As for the 3-5% of folks who walk in knowing more than that, we’re simply not the customers they can make money from, so we’re not welcomed.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      MOST dealers don’t want car enthusiasts for customers.

      Probably not. My Dad’s best friend Bob special ordered a 1987 Oldsmobile 442 just before the announcement was made that that 442 production would be ceasing at the end of the model year. Bob only special ordered because he didn’t want t-tops (every t-top he ever had leaked) and all the local dealers only had cars with t-tops in stock. He was told his order would take 6-weeks. Bob didn’t just place a deposit, he paid for the car in advance.

      Half-way through his order the announcement was made about end of production. The dealer called him every other day for the next three weeks trying to buy the car back so they could resell it to someone who would pay far more than Bob. He refused and kept the car for over 20 years.

      I would agree with you that most dealers don’t want real enthusiasts as customers. And yes a customer who knows exactly what he wants is an enthusiast.

      Edited: 87 dang it…

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I’ve asked this before but I don’t recall the answer.

    If you order your car, what is the price penalty over buying the same configuration if it were sitting on the lot?

    • 0 avatar
      oleladycarnut

      I can answer for Subaru and MINI.

      Special ordering our Outback gave us a lower price than taking one off the lot. My understanding was that a special order does not count towards the dealer’s allocation of vehicles, so it’s easier to offer a lower price. I was able to get 8 percent under invoice on the very popular first year redesign of the 2015 Outback by special ordering. That was a win/win as I got just what I wanted and nothing extra. Of course, I had another car to drive while I waited six weeks. The dealer assured me also that the trade in value would remain.

      On the other hand, MINI dealers are more willing to deal on the cars they already have on their lot. YMMV, but according to all I’ve read on the MINI forums, this has been the case for some time. It seems that they know if we are willing to wait two months for our car we must really really want it. That’s ok with me, as the personalization MINI offers is important to me. Again, I have another car to drive as I wait and the trade in value won’t change when I pick up my MINI.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      It depends on how much the dealer is willing to negotiate and what incentives are being offered. Incentives are usually applied on delivery not on sale (because they are intended to help dealers clear lots) so they may change for the worse between when you order and when you get the car.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      A lot of the incentives are for taking “stock from dealer inventory” so those won’t apply. Because it is a sale in the future the dealer is less likely to make concessions on their end. Both because that means they will have another floor plan payment to make on the one you aren’t buying but also because they figure that if you are willing to wait to get exactly what you want then you are willing to pay to get exactly what you want.

  • avatar
    orenwolf

    This, right here, is what I hate about the existing dealer model. I wonder if it’s a little different in the Great White North, though:

    I’ve owned four vehicles new. In every case, the specific colour/option combination wasn’t available at the dealer, and they had to order it, either from another dealer, or from the factory. The shortest time to get the vehicle was about two weeks. The longest in the case of the RX-8 was about two-and-a-half months.

    In Ontario at least, you can’t drive off the lot without proof of insurance and what not, so I’m guessing the vast majority of sales here aren’t “Walk in, pick up from inventory, leave with your car” sort of deals. I’ve gotten the impression from comments here that such deals *are* somewhat common south of the border, and if so, perhaps that’s why it seems the need to “wait for an order” isn’t so foreign up here.

    Either way, Tesla’s model of “test drive the car, then order it online and wait for delivery, with the exact specs you want) seems to make sense to me. The manufacturer, not dealers, have to deal with inventory, at the cost of impulse buying, I suppose. But seriously – do people impulse-buy cars nowadays?

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      you can’t drive off the lot w/o insurance here either, since you need proof of insurance to register the car and get license plates.

      however, usually getting insurance same day is easy; you call your insurer with the VIN of the car you’re buying and what coverages you need, and they open a policy and email/fax the dealer a “binder” (temporary insurance card.)

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Heck, around here (Oregon) my insurer – and I don’t think it’s limited to State Farm – automatically covers new cars on an existing auto policy, as long as you officially change/add within a week or so.

        I get the new car, drive home, and call State Farm to change it over – but I’m covered for the new car without having to even talk to them.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The vast majority of sales in the US are drive out the same day. My insurance company automatically covers my new car immediately, even if I buy it at closing time before a 3 day weekend as long as I call the agent the next day they are open for business and they will even email a new proof of insurance card. They will even cover the old car for 14 days if I didn’t trade it in and want to sell it myself.

      The other thing is the I in F&I is Insurance and the dealer likely has a relationship with some agent that will cover you the same day, and then you can cancel it later and get a refund for the unused portion.

      I’ve never done anything with insurance at the dealer other than show them my current card.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        plus, in Michigan a lot of dealers have joined a program to be “agents” for the Secretary of State, so you get a real license plate and permanent registration right away, instead of temp tags.

  • avatar
    Michael McDonald

    He needs to find a friendly dealership that will either
    A: Locate him one on GM Global Connect’s Locate a Vehicle

    or…

    B: Special order it for him! This might require a deposit, but current and last dealer I worked at are very easy to special order. The only issue I could see at this time of year for a special order would be having to wait for a 2017 model if they’ve already stopped 2016 production.

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    Here’s the birds eye business view of this situation.

    On the other side of the desk is the dealer, whose only directive is to sell cars for as much money as the market bears.

    Custom ordering cars takes time and ties up sales staff who could instead be selling a car on the lot (marginal revenue loss ) . In sales time is money; do you want your sales staff playing Dr Phil on the phone with Mr Snowflake customer waffling between color options, or do you want them on the lot making deals and collecting revenue?

    Further an order is by definition a deferred sale. Ultimately the dealer only has the customers word they’ll buy the ordered vehicle, and if the customer changes their mind the dealer not only has a lot lizard on their hands, but just lost all that time and labor preparing the order to begin with.

    In the game of marginal revenue, a customer on the lot for a car on the lot beats ten potential special orders. I can see a business case for a dealer using the “here’s what we got, take it or beat it” approach.

    If a business is in an area where most of their customers fit this clientele or they do enough volume to offset the inevitable cancellations they could operate differently.

    • 0 avatar
      Rick T.

      If I wanted to special order, I would definitely not show up on a weekend or week night. I can’t imagine they wouldn’t want a sale in the middle of a Wed afternoon.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      You are assuming that the dealership is busy enough that they have every salesman on duty actively making sales, instead of playing solitare on their computer, or working with a customer that isn’t going to buy. I’ve never been in a dealer when there wasn’t a salesperson available because they were all working a deal. Which brings up the question of which is worse spending time with a non-buyer or spending time with the buyer that wants to order?

      Yes the dealer wants to move what he has in stock but a smart dealer doesn’t turn away a sale he can make a profit on. If it is slow then you better take that person’s order and their non-refundable deposit and make sure that deposit is proportional to the lot-posion grade of the vehicle they are ordering. Want a vehicle that won’t be hard to sell then require a small deposit, if they want a really strange combo of an unpopular model then require a significant deposit.

  • avatar

    “When told what Malibuman2010a wants to purchase, the salesman talks to his manager. Eight days later, an email arrives.

    The salesman has been on vacation, but assures the Malibu-seeking buyer that he’s been in touch with the manager about the request. Also: no dice on that gray Malibu. What are your second and third color choices?”

    EIGHT DAYS.

    Dude, I know you want the commission to yourself, and I know it’s only a mini deal, but my lord. Bring in a wingman to handle it while you’re out.

  • avatar
    donatolla

    Feels like a non-problem. There are things you have to assume in buying a car – dealers want to stock options that they will sell quickly, at maximum margin. They have to pay to have those cars there, so they will make it seem like special orders aren’t possible. It’s how business is done, and part of the flaw in the current system.

    Mazda “tried” the same thing when I bought a ’14 Mazda6. I wanted the GT without the nannies (tech package). No dealership in the world stocked this, so I had to special order. They tried to get me to take a car on the lot – even to the point of making the tech package free (I didn’t want the added complexity). It became clear to them then that I would *only* buy the package I wanted.

    Special orders are always possible. If a dealer won’t do it, go to another dealer. They hold absolutely no nostalgia for your business, and customers should in no way have a “favourite” dealer. That’s how competition dies. When I know what build I want, I’ll let dealers compete for the business. They basically get an RFP from me via email and are asked to respond with their best price. Not all dealers accept this, and some will get offended. In the end, a few smart dealers will work with me, and I get the configuration I want at a good price. They get fast business and can turn over a car in only a few emails.

    tl;dr – man isn’t trying hard enough.

  • avatar
    daviel

    The Chevy dealer does not want to sell you a car. Buy the Ford. Personally, I’d buy an Optima.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Or just find a Chevy dealer that does want to sell you a car. When I went shopping for our SUV I found two vehicles that fit my desires. Neither of those dealers wanted to budge on their pricing. So I went shopping for a dealer and told him that no nothing you have on the lot will do I want xxx. He said let me see and quickly found those 2 vehicles. The closer dealer didn’t want to play ball but the one farther away did. So he bought it from them and sold it to me for well under the “best price” that dealer’s “internet sales manager” was willing to sell it to me for. Plus I didn’t have to make a ~2 hr drive each way to get it.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Big Mac vs. Egg McMuffin..

    I’d accept a 2:1 ratio on McMuffins for Macs. This guy’s a petulant, whining doofus.

  • avatar
    Vetteman

    GM for what ever reason has a very poor national web site . I ran into this recently when shopping for a new HD diesel Pick up to tow my RV . I have used their site many times over the years and I find that it does not have the functionality that it used too have. The dealers have access to a non public database to search for vehicles at other dealers called the Dealer Locator system . I worked for a dealer and it has extensive search features to find a vehicle anywhere in the United states. Many years ago the public thru the GM public site could pretty much search online thru this system with certain restrictions of course . I thought it was great as I could sit down at any computer and find someone a car or truck anytime without haveing to go to my office . You could filter by any option, color or configuration . I for the life of me can’t understand why their site now is so limited and frustrating to use , slow and to me not user friendly . They are really missing out on an important marketing resource for the customer . They evidently want to get you in to the dealer so they can attempt to manage you as a customer into giving up and buying what they have . How many times have we all heard that this or that car or truck is not available anywhere then drive to another dealer and find just what we want . Also don’t blame the dealer because he does not have a popular vehicle with popular options in stock . Gm will force product on the dealer that has constraints on popular combinations so they take what is given them and tell the sales department to make it go away

  • avatar
    theroadmaster

    I wonder how far outside his market he looked. I just got off Chevy’s website, and searched for that exact car. Most of them have the Convenience and Technology package, and to get the other, I clicked Accident Avoidance Technology. There were none in that color with those in my market, so I looked at the market next to us, and BAM! A dealer 90 miles away has that exact car. If none of my hometown dealers want to do a dealer trade, I would just ride to the next town, and pick up my car. What’s so hard about that?

  • avatar
    Pch101

    “Hoping to locate his dream vehicle through the magic of the internet…”

    This is the essence of the problem. Instead of picking up a phone and speaking to an actual human (or in this case, a salesperson), the subject of the OP insists on using email and the interwebs.

    Pick up the phone or go to the dealer. Tell them you want a whatever-colored Malibu with options X, Y and Z.

    Now be very clear about the next point: Tell them that if isn’t in current inventory that you want to special order it, and that you are willing to wait. (While I wouldn’t suggest it, you could also offer to pay a modest fully refundable deposit in order to show good faith.)

    As long as your special order doesn’t involve some bizarre combination of features that nobody would possibly want — dealers won’t want to order a plaid Malibu with whaleskin wheel covers, lest they get stuck with it — this should be doable. But you will probably lose a fair amount of negotiating power by doing this, as it is always preferable to sell units out of existing inventory.

  • avatar
    alexndr333

    I call BS on this article. To take one experience with a dealer unwilling to find MM2010A’s take-it-or-leave-it configuration and then generalize it to the entire corporation is just another TTAC riff on ripping GM. I’m guessing most of the B & B here don’t venture to a Chevy dealer looking for a new car, so they are unable to corroborate or duplicate this one-time event. My Chevy dealer will order anything I want – I just talked to him the other day about a Malibu Hybrid. Besides, with the Malibu just rolling out and orders being submitted for 2017’s, it just may be that the 2016 Malibu is in limited inventory, but there’s no recognition here on that.

  • avatar
    dwford

    Here’s one for him:

    http://www.brookdalechevy.com/VehicleDetails/new-2016-Chevrolet-Malibu-1LT-Brooklyn_Center-MN/2795371513

    This one is in Minnesota, but within 250 miles of me in Connecticut there’s also ones in Derry, NH, Allentown, PA, and Adams, NY.

    1. Build it on the manufacturer website
    2. Search on a car website like cars.com, autotrader.com – put in the trim and color
    3. Sort by price and find the exact car you are looking for
    4. click through to the dealer website, find the car, and click in the window sticker link to verify
    5. done

    Anything else you need, let me know.

  • avatar
    rcx141

    He just needs to find a better dealer I think. With my Mustang I just rolled up to the Ford dealership, told them the color and the options I wanted, they punched it into the computer, 7 weeks later, I get a call and go pick it up!

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    Just custom order it; if the dealer won’t play ball find a better dealer. I did that with my Silverado after the dealer couldn’t find what I wanted. Two months later I took delivery of a truck built to my exact specifications. The dealer was very willing to work with me and I provided them with an excellent online review because of it. The combination of exterior color, 18″ wheels and cocoa/dune interior (which was a solid percentage of the reason I chose a Silvy over the competition in the first place) that I wanted didn’t exist in the entire midwest and that’s on the #2 selling vehicle in the country. The 18’s were the sticking point; evidently people like their 20’s.

    As an aside; review the terrible experience you had with the dealer online. That’s how you stop bad business practices like this. But also review the positive experiences you have. That way they can be rewarded for excellent treatment of customers

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Order it through the dealership as you want it. If they won’t order it, go to a different dealership and keep trying until you find one that will order it.

  • avatar
    86er

    A man wants to buy a grey Malibu. Christ, now I’ve heard it all.

  • avatar
    Chi-One

    On 1/4/16, I ordered my ’16 Challenger R/T.
    Delivered to the dealer 1/22/16.
    Paid Friends and Family price. :)

  • avatar

    When I was looking for my new car I also knew exactly what I want (gray Fusion Titanium with certain option (total three being available)). I configured car at Truecar.com and let them search car for me. After hour or so Ford dealer from Tracy (20 miles away) called me and told me they have exactly the car I want and how much it will cost and I asked him to e-mail me window sticker to be sure that it is indeed identical and it was. Price also was very good – they apparently wanted to get rid of car. Next morning I drove to Tracy to test drive pickup my new car. As simple as that. With Ford you do not need Truecar.com – it was simply more convenient for me to pay for service. All Ford dealers have all cars in the inventory and ordered ones with windows stickers on their websites. So if your are patient and spend some time on internet you can find your Ford and negotiate online with internet sales manager and then schedule time for pickup.

  • avatar
    seanx37

    It is weird, as I live in Warren. The local Chevy store must have 400-500 Malibu’s. I know they have dozens of gray ones. With the absurd lease deals they are giving right now…they have to have a lot in stock.

  • avatar
    johnds

    Apparently you can buy one in Minneapolis. I searched online and found a 1LT, Nightfall Gray, Convenience package, and driver package available at my local Chevrolet dealer.

  • avatar
    RS

    Dealer in MN shows 9 on their website.

    http://www.jeffbelzer.com/new-inventory/index.htm?search=&accountId=&make=Chevrolet&model=Malibu&internetPrice=&bodyStyle=&trim=&engine=&normalDriveLine=&normalTransmission=&normalExteriorColor=Gray&saveFacetState=true&lastFacetInteracted=inventory-listing1-facet-anchor-normalExteriorColor-2

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    Now is no time for GM to start treating its customers with a modicum of respect. Who knows how they’d respond?

  • avatar
    Scott_314

    What’s with everyone wanting grey?

    Fusion 2017 has a dark purple color.

    It’s the nicest color on a midsize I’ve seen in years.

  • avatar

    Scott Adams, of Dilbert fame, had a similar problem buying a truck: http://blog.dilbert.com/post/147545750286/truck-buying-advice

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      he’s a f**king idiot. Pickup trucks have long option sheets. he basically expects either 1) a dealer to have the exact options (and ONLY the exact options he wants) in inventory, or 2) them to special order a truck for him to test drive and decide whether or not he wants to buy.

      Moron. you test drive one that’s as close as possible, to see if it drives the way you want. if it’s missing a feature you want, test a different one which has it. then if it’s up to scratch, ask the dealer to order one for you with your desired options.

  • avatar
    GT_Fan

    Racing hounds come in “grey.” He might have had more luck getting a Malibu in his preferred color if he had asked for “gray.”
    Just sayin’.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    I hate car dealers as much as anyone, but I can’t disparage them too much on this one (although it is unusual if it’s actually true they won’t order the guy exactly what he wants). Money talks, and I’d be willing to bet that they ‘did’ tell him they’d get him exactly what he wanted, but it would take time and money (including a non-refundable deposit), so he went online to bitch about it.

    And the alternative of the dealership salesman wasting a bunch of his time hunting all over for his particular car and options on another dealer’s lot (and the accompanying hassle of doing some kind of dealer trade, then the process of having the cars moved) is something I can see a bottom-feeder Chevy dealer being loath to do. I’d say that’s a typical response from about half of the Chevy dealers out there, and people buying fleet-level Chevys, well, I’d guess most of them just aren’t that picky.

    Comments have been posted saying that you can get anything you want from a BMW dealer. Well, when you don’t want or have the money for a BMW, you get what you pay for.

  • avatar
    Paragon

    OK, here’s a different possible scenario for this man. He goes back to the Chevy dealer, talks to his salesman and goes: Remember me? I wanted you to get me a gray 2016 Malibu with only certain options? Well, a co-worker buddy talked me into going to the CDJR store to check out the Chrysler 200. That’s a really nice car. And, they gave me a really good deal on a car that I now like much better than your Malibu. So thank you for not selling me what I thought I wanted, cause I found something I like much better.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • 28-Cars-Later: That’s why they do it that way, otherwise it looks like they are raising prices. No we...
  • 28-Cars-Later: Sounds about right.
  • brn: Which raises the price for you and me.
  • Lou_BC: Yup, a respiratory illness causes a rush on toilet paper. People are odd. It isn’t like it was...
  • 28-Cars-Later: “two of the biggest drawbacks would be the ever-present threat of assassination and having to...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber