A recent hot post on Facebook’s Toyota RAV4 Hybrid group showed a particular RAV4 customer explaining her frustration with her dealer because she put down a special deposit of $1000 to get her own custom RAV4 and then the dealer called her and told her it was impossible to get that exact model. Here is what she said.
“I put down $1000 to “special order” the car but was apparently lied to because the manager just called me to tell me special ordering in the US is impossible.” Also, in her post, she said she wanted the nutmeg interior with the black exterior to avoid add-on prices.
I asked our trusted Toyota source about this claim and here’s what he said. “Customers complain about dealerships all the time and some of the times it is because it is the customer's fault, and the dealer gets blamed.”
However, he also said that this could have been the dealer's fault for not explaining the special order clauses to the customer.
So it seems that there was either a misinterpretation of the special order’s clauses or maybe there was a miscommunication between the dealer and the customer. Now just a little disclaimer, I do not affiliate with any dealership therefore my opinion is based on facts and what our source told us.
Lately, dealerships have gotten a bad rap because of their ostentatious markups and stereotype of ripping you off. In fact, the dealership was established by the government to prevent the automaker from ripping you off directly. Dealerships made sure that the car was sold at the true MSRP or maybe at a small markup to avoid any sort of temptation from the automaker to base prices on your location or your financial situation.
Now with this customer’s claim, special orders are subject to change based on what the automaker can give the dealership. So let’s say I put a special order down for a RAV4 Hybrid with a red exterior and white interior. This isn’t a color scheme you see every day so I would have to wait for more for my car plus I may have to settle for a different color because Toyota only cares that you get the car. Dealers ask Toyota if they can get this specific order and if Toyota feels like they can allocate resources to get that specific trim or color, then it all works out.
However, there are instances where dealers are only allocated an X amount of money for special offers or cars in general. Therefore, Toyota may not see it fit that this customer gets his or her desired color option because of resources, time, and what’s available. Here’s what a commenter said on the post, “What happens is the dealership asks Toyota for that specific vehicle, but they only actually receive whatever Toyota sends them.”
Another member explains the allocation part of it in a more in-depth way. He said, “Toyota allows you to a preference request. Dealers are allocated the new shipment every two weeks or so. Right now, they are building what they can and shipping to a region. Every dealer gets a different amount allocated to them.”
So even if you really wanted your cherry red RAV4 Hybrid, you may not get it at all due to dealer allocations and Toyota’s choosing.
My best advice is to get what you get and spend the extra money on wrapping it or doing the mods yourself. Speaking of which, check out my recent article on customer mods and how they might affect your warranty.
Sometimes negotiating with the dealer to put things on like tint or paint might even bring a better deal to the table. My late math teacher got a brand new Camry for under MSRP plus a lot of add-ons which included tint, floor mats, and extended warranties simply because he didn’t get his special order. So don’t sweat it…your patience will be rewarded.
What do you think? Have you ever been turned down on a special order? Let us know in the comments below.
Harutiun Hareyan is reporting Toyota news at Torque News. His automotive interests and vast experience test-riding new cars give his stories a sense of authenticity and unique insights. Follow Harutiun on Twitter at @HareyanHarutiun for daily Toyota news.