Reader Question: Never-Arriving New Car?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Dennis asks: I’m trying to get the following new car from our Local GP Toyota Dealer: 2022 Corolla SE in Celestite Gray with a Light Gray interior. I put in an order 5 months ago, and am being told no movement, and that they have 42 other requests in the same status. Is this the best thing I can do to get a new car like I want above, or is there a better way? Am I getting hosed? Even if it takes a year, do you think I can rely 
on this ordering process with a dealer, that eventually I will get my car? 

My reply: If you ordered the car, then they are contractually obliged to deliver it, per the terms of the sales contract. That said, there is such a thing as reasonable delivery time. While there are supply chain disruptions, at some point, they either owe you the car – or your money back. Or some other compensation – to make up for the time you are doing without the car and the money you paid (I’m assuming you put a deposit down).

The key question that needs to be answered is – how long is “reasonable”? The contract ought to specify a date certain – after which the deal should be something you can walk away from, without them walking away with any of your money.

There is a separate issue to consider as well – which is that we are bearing down fast on the end of the 2022 model (and calendar) year. If your new car is delivered this fall, it will already be last year’s model – and, arguably, ought to be discounted some vs. what you paid for a new model year car. If they do not deliver it before the end of the calendar year, then you will be holding the keys to last year’s model – literally. It will have lost value on account of this fact even before you put a mile on the odometer. In the case of the latter, the dealer arguably owes you an even bigger discount – just the same as if you’d walked into the showroom today and bought a 2021 “leftover” sitting on the back lot.

So, the first thing to do is closely read your sales contract/paperwork and see whether there is a “date certain” for delivery. If there is not, then I’d advise having a discussion with the salesman who took your deposit. If he is reasonable, he will be accommodating. If not, try the sales manager; if necessary, the dealership’s owner.

You have a right to get what you paid for – in reasonable time. I think five months-plus is not reasonable.

Keep me posted!

. . .

Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in! Or email me at if the @!** “ask Eric” button doesn’t work!

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