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Discussion Starter #1
My wife is probably going to get a 2019 Camry Hybrid. There aren't a lot around.


How easy/hard is it to do a factory order?


Are the only options what I see online or can you say break apart a package to get some option and maybe not a sunroof? Or get a different exterior / interior than the combinations Toyota shows in their 'build' site?


We're not in any great hurry. Her 2007 Camry is still running fine so it would be nice to actually get the car you want. No more and no less.


One last question. Are both the Apple and Android (like Android Auto or whatever it's called) in now? I think Apple is and Android was reported but I don't know if Toyota has actually done it yet.


Of course any other advice is welcome.
 

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I don't believe you can break apart packages, or get special color combos not on the website, although I "heard" that some Toyota employees were able to do that for cars they purchased. Contact your local Toyota dealers if you want more information.
 

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I ordered a 2018 hybrid SE in Blue Streak Metallic with black interior in the South FL area, which is covered by Southeast Toyota Distributors. The whole ordeal was really a lengthy mess, partially because I initially tried to order the car with just Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA) (I too did not want a sunroof). The build website for Southeast Toyota (which the main Toyota website redirected to me when I entered in my zip code to build a car) allowed me to select just that one BSM/RCTA option without telling me that doing so is impossible. It even let the dealership do so when I actually made the order there in December 2017 (originally for Midnight Black Metallic with black interior). Cutting out some inanity and frustrating phone calls, I was finally told four months later that for the hybrid specifically, you cannot split up the options in any way - you must get BSM/RCTA, moonroof, the Convenience Package, and the Audio Package together. I wanted BSM/RCTA enough to bite the bullet on all of those, so in May (five months after the initial order), I changed my order to have all of the options/packages and also switched to that gorgeous blue.


Because of a shortage of Blue Streak Metallic cars and the relative rarity of hybrids, it did take a while, but they told me in June that I'd have my car in early July. I'm still not sure what happened, but that somehow was delayed until July 19th, seven months to the day from the original order. The dealership told me that in order to actually get the car, they had to trade with another dealership within the Southeast Toyota network. They also said that each distributor is allotted a certain number of cars with different exterior/interior combinations, and they couldn't do anything to change that, but that the options are something that can be changed. So, if there's a car allotted to them for the future with the color combination you want but not the options, then you can request that the options be changed, and that should be doable.



TL;DR: you apparently cannot order just one package/option with the hybrid (it's all or nothing, in other words), you probably cannot get any special color combinations (I initially was hoping to get an SE in Wind Chill Pearl, and was told that I couldn't), and it took for me about two months from ordering a car to actually getting it (once I ordered something that Toyota would actually allow them to do).


Also, Southeast Toyota sucks. Their site is broken and I don't know how it was not fixed in that large span of time. They cover a good chunk of the US, so I hope you won't have to deal with them.



I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any questions for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
thanks


very helpful (& I guess I'm glad I'm in the NE!). We'll see how it goes. I'll probably opt to forego the extras. Hate sunroofs for a number of reasons. I'd probably walk with your experience but this is for spousy so I'll need to be a little more tolerant.
 

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Toyota has multiple regional distributors in the USA that were originally set up years ago when all Toyotas were imported from Japan.

Currently, Gulf States Toyota (MS, LA, OK, AR, TX) and Southeast Toyota (NC, SC, GA, FL, AL) are independent companies not owned by Toyota Motor, and the other regional distributors in the USA are owned by Toyota. This goes back a long time, and apparently Toyota signed agreements which allowed those independent regional distributors to remain separate forever (or a very long time). The two independent distributors have slightly different fees, port-installed options, etc, compared to the Toyota owned distributors.

Generally, regional distributors order from the factory based on what they think demand will be, and they allocate cars to dealers. If a dealer wants a certain option/color combo, the dealer can request the distributor to order it, or more commonly they can request an allocation of an already ordered vehicle. Dealers can also swap cars with other dealers.

The rules and fees charged by the Toyota-owned regional distributors in the rest of the country are all the same.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Toyota has multiple regional distributors in the USA that were originally set up years ago when all Toyotas were imported from Japan.

Currently, Gulf States Toyota (MS, LA, OK, AR, TX) and Southeast Toyota (NC, SC, GA, FL, AL) are independent companies not owned by Toyota Motor, and the other regional distributors in the USA are owned by Toyota. This goes back a long time, and apparently Toyota signed agreements which allowed those independent regional distributors to remain separate forever (or a very long time). The two independent distributors have slightly different fees, port-installed options, etc, compared to the Toyota owned distributors.

Generally, regional distributors order from the factory based on what they think demand will be, and they allocate cars to dealers. If a dealer wants a certain option/color combo, the dealer can request the distributor to order it, or more commonly they can request an allocation of an already ordered vehicle. Dealers can also swap cars with other dealers.

The rules and fees charged by the Toyota-owned regional distributors in the rest of the country are all the same.

Went to the dealer. Sales guy is looking at other dealerships and did say he would factory order if he can't find her color etc. We're not in any hurry so we'll see how it plays out. Looks like the far side should be about 12 weeks. She is sticking to the LE and no real options other than the usual floor mats and such.
 

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The fleet manager *can* order a special build, but that order hits at the beginning of the build process, and shipping time is several weeks.
Now, there are also cutoff dates for orders for a specific model year. Models that are being "facelifted" or redesigned for the following year (neither would apply to the 2019 Camry) have a much earlier cutoff date.
You should be dealing with the fleet manager anyways, rather than the lot jockeys. They will get you the best deal with no BS, and they are long-term employees so you can develop a relationship with them that will help in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well we did the factory order. I think it was placed 11/14. Picked the car up on 1/8


So, not too bad. But the sales guy didn't keep us informed at all. I was about to call once again for a status when he called on 1/6 (sunday afternoon) and said it was sitting on the lot.
 

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Well we did the factory order. I think it was placed 11/14. Picked the car up on 1/8


So, not too bad. But the sales guy didn't keep us informed at all. I was about to call once again for a status when he called on 1/6 (sunday afternoon) and said it was sitting on the lot.
Did you get a special build, with different option combinations than on the website (like no sunroof)?

The reason why the dealer had no status is that they don't order direct from the factory, they request an allocation from the regional distributor for the options/color you wanted.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
not really. ended up ordering to get the color she wanted. nice dark blue. all the ones in our area were variations of black or gray/silver except one red we found but she didn't want red (I have a red car).
 

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I was told by my Toyota dealer, and have heard this elsewhere as well, that it is virtually impossible to place a factory order for anything. If it's not on the dealers lot, and their distributor doesn't have the model/color/trim level you want, they will search other dealers for it, and that's it. You can wait a few months and see what become available, but there is no other way to do it.

As for option packages, I was told they are not changable or customizable in any way. If anyone has been able to alter the option packages on a Toyota I would like to know how they did it. I was initially interested in a 2018 Camry Hybrid but wanted built in navigation. No luck. Not at any trim level or price. Just connected nav using Entune and Scout. In 2019 they added Apple Car Play, and there was some talk about Android Auto maybe, but then not, because of a deal with Amazon, and then later maybe again, and I'm not sure how that all ended up.

The flexibility you used to have when buying a car seems to be disappearing.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
yes, the 2019 has apple but not google. As she has an iPhone, that's OK, but obviously I'm out of luck with my android phone or tablet. We didn't want nav as she uses waze



Supposedly they did search for this dark blue for about a week. That's when he said he put in the factory order and it would take 8-12 weeks and it took just about 8 weeks (8 wk less 1 day). The sticker has that dealer as the destination and the car had 4 mi on it (driving from their storage lot to the dealer would be about 1/2 of that).



So I think they probably did put in an order whatever that means.
 

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Supposedly they did search for this dark blue for about a week. That's when he said he put in the factory order and it would take 8-12 weeks and it took just about 8 weeks (8 wk less 1 day). The sticker has that dealer as the destination and the car had 4 mi on it (driving from their storage lot to the dealer would be about 1/2 of that).

So I think they probably did put in an order whatever that means.
Only a regional distributor can make a direct factory order (unless it is a large fleet order or something). The cars are shipped to the distributor and then they apply the sticker which shows what dealer it is shipped to. Dealers can trade cars, so it could have a different dealer name on it.

So what they meant is that they got the distributor to put in a factory order, and reserve that car for that dealer. They just don't have the time or patience to explain the whole manufacturer-distributor-dealer model they use.
 

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The flexibility you used to have when buying a car seems to be disappearing.
That flexibility to customize the options on a Toyota (or other Japanese or Korean vehicle) never existed in the USA.

When Toyota first started selling vehicles in the USA, they were all made in Japan and imported by various regional Toyota distributors. Even after Toyota started making vehicles in the USA, they have kept that distributor business model, and not allowed custom builds (unless it is for fleet, like for a rental car company).

Some German cars like MB and BMW can be custom configured to a large extent beyond just the usual "packages" but it takes awhile to get them, and obviously those are relatively expensive vehicles.

For GM, Ford, Chrysler, since those vehicles were made in North America, they could sell them directly from the manufacturer to the dealer, and they allowed custom configs. I don't know if they still do that on all their vehicles.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
yes

once upon a time you could do pretty much anything with an american car. I bought a Pontiac in '81 and onfigured sort 1/2 highest end and 1/2 lowest end (e.g. most expensive sport bucket seats vs no wheel covers actual hubcaps). Dealer quipped that I'd better take delivery because he wouldn't be able to sell the car to anyone else.


It's too bad these days with all the information systems, automation, and connectivity that the manufacturers provide less service.
 

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once upon a time you could do pretty much anything with an american car. I bought a Pontiac in '81 and onfigured sort 1/2 highest end and 1/2 lowest end (e.g. most expensive sport bucket seats vs no wheel covers actual hubcaps). Dealer quipped that I'd better take delivery because he wouldn't be able to sell the car to anyone else.

It's too bad these days with all the information systems, automation, and connectivity that the manufacturers provide less service.
As you mentioned, dealers don't like it, because it puts too much risk on them.

The only thing that I would like customized is to be able to buy a nicely equipped vehicle without a sunroof. I had a 1998 Camry V6 XLE (top trim level at the time), but they came with or without sunroofs back then. I needed the extra inch of headroom, and it creates a quandary for me every time I buy a new vehicle because sunroof is standard on top trim levels.
 

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I was told by my Toyota dealer, and have heard this elsewhere as well, that it is virtually impossible to place a factory order for anything. If it's not on the dealers lot, and their distributor doesn't have the model/color/trim level you want, they will search other dealers for it, and that's it. You can wait a few months and see what become available, but there is no other way to do it.
Difficult only in that:
The lot jockeys can't do it on their own.
The sales manager doesn't want to do it, because it is likely that the sale won't go through.
The fleet manager can do it.

So first you have to get to the fleet manager, which is not hard, but I've been lied to by regular sales guys who claimed to be "fleet managers"

There are different specific cutoff dates for orders for the current model year. These dates vary by model, as they are tied to production line schedules. It is possible that the production line for some 2019 models has already stopped adding new cars. This would be likely for models that will see a facelift or remodel for 2020, such as the Highlander.
OTOH, it may be possible to order a 2019 Corolla or Camry in May or June.
https://fleet.toyota.com/ftc/public/fleet/loadResAvailability.htm

Yep... Camry can be ordered until May 10. 2019 Corolla is done... 2020 can be ordered (including the hybrid), but pricing won't be out until April.
Highlander is good until August.

Even fleet will TRY to find what you want at another local dealer... it's faster, they are less likely to lose the sale (and make you happy). The first rule of sales is not to let the customer out of your sight until the deal is closed. If you go home intending to come back in 2 months to pick up your new car, they know that there is a very good chance that you'll buy something else and now they'll be stuck with your special order. New vehicle purchases are extremely impulsive for the majority of people. They may do research, but when they make up their mind, they want it to happen NOW, and this does not work in the dealer's favor if they are looking at a 2 month wait on your new car.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
agree about the sunroof. got the same problem. or I did before old age and demon gravity started shrinking about 2 inches so far. Never saw much use for a sunroof anyway. If I want the outdoors, I'll hop on one of my bikes and start pedalling.
 

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I like the option. Though I rarely use it... I find I use it more often on warm summer nights than during the day.
I also crack it open on hot days to allow the heat to vent from the cabin. It helps on a dark car.
 

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Difficult only in that:
The lot jockeys can't do it on their own.
The sales manager doesn't want to do it, because it is likely that the sale won't go through.
The fleet manager can do it.

So first you have to get to the fleet manager, which is not hard, but I've been lied to by regular sales guys who claimed to be "fleet managers"

There are different specific cutoff dates for orders for the current model year. These dates vary by model, as they are tied to production line schedules. It is possible that the production line for some 2019 models has already stopped adding new cars. This would be likely for models that will see a facelift or remodel for 2020, such as the Highlander.
OTOH, it may be possible to order a 2019 Corolla or Camry in May or June.
https://fleet.toyota.com/ftc/public/fleet/loadResAvailability.htm

Yep... Camry can be ordered until May 10. 2019 Corolla is done... 2020 can be ordered (including the hybrid), but pricing won't be out until April.
Highlander is good until August.

Even fleet will TRY to find what you want at another local dealer... it's faster, they are less likely to lose the sale (and make you happy). The first rule of sales is not to let the customer out of your sight until the deal is closed. If you go home intending to come back in 2 months to pick up your new car, they know that there is a very good chance that you'll buy something else and now they'll be stuck with your special order. New vehicle purchases are extremely impulsive for the majority of people. They may do research, but when they make up their mind, they want it to happen NOW, and this does not work in the dealer's favor if they are looking at a 2 month wait on your new car.

Hi, thanks for this info!


do you know if it is possible to add a package to a factory order for a car after May 10th if the order was been secured by May 10 but not yet built?
 
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