Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A white vehicle is shown on a laptop screen for a build-to-order Ford dealership.

Build-To-Order Ford: Start Your Custom Order Before It’s Too Late

Are you thinking about visiting a build-to-order Ford dealership? You’re definitely on the right track. There are many benefits to buying a build-to-order vehicle, and with Ford, the process is penalty-free. When there’s nothing you want on the lot and customizing seems like the only option, you can count on Ford to deliver. The brand doesn’t apply any additional charges for choosing a custom-ordered model. When you want a unique model, and you’re in no rush to receive it, it’s time to ask your dealership about placing a custom order for a Ford.

Why Custom Orders are Gaining Popularity

The decision to custom order your vehicle is becoming more and more normalized over time. Choosing to “build-to-order” wasn’t always ideal for the dealership, so it’s not something that has been pushed much in the past. Dealerships traditionally wanted to sell their inventory and push for customers to purchase what they had already invested in. However, after seeing how the chip shortage has affected the vehicle industry, brands are thinking differently about the build-to-order process.

Not everyone is making this shift, and even those who do are not completely abandoning the same-day sales process. People like to have vehicles on hand for same-day purchasing, so car lots are not withering away anytime soon. However, while average commuters are often satisfied with stock inventory, car enthusiasts are more likely to want custom features. There are many customization combinations out there, and it’s nearly impossible for the dealership to “get it right” for every customer. This is where custom orders come into play.

The buyer wins because they get exactly what they want (as they should, given how much money they’re spending), and the dealership wins as well, wasting less money on models that won’t sell. Ford, in particular, is pushing for more online vehicle ordering due to these reasons. While this process has been normal for Europeans for ages, American’s are just now catching on to the appeal.

There’s also a fully online way to custom order your Ford while still involving your local dealer. Ford Express Buy allows customers to customize their Ford model online, place the order, and their local Ford dealership will receive and even deliver the model straight to their door. The dealership still gets credit, so you’re still “shopping local,” just without the hassle. To top it all off, you get a brand new vehicle, custom-made to suit your style. Whether you skip the mediator and use Ford Express Buy or work a deal out with a reputable dealership, customizing a vehicle has never been easier.

A red 2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E is shown parked from a rear angle at a charging station.

What Ford Models Can I Custom Order?

The short answer is pretty much any current model. However, only when you’re ordering it from the dealership. Currently, the new Mustang Mach-E model is the only model that’s available through Ford Express Buy, but this is likely to change soon.

Many new models are currently available for custom orders. Want a customized Bronco Sport? You’ve got it. More interested in the Ranger? That’s possible, too. While each model offers its own general benefits, the real personalization comes with trims and package options. No matter what model you choose, be wary of the fact that not every Bronco Sport comes with the same off-road features. Similarly, not every single Ford Explorer has red as an exterior paint color option. As a result, you can add your own touch to all new Ford models. It’s just that some models come with more customization options than others do. Models such as the Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport are going to include many more customization features than a Ford EcoSport will.

Just know that no matter what you choose to create, you won’t be waiting in limbo. Even though Ford cannot guarantee how fast delivery will happen, as it varies from case to case, your order includes a tracking number that you can check at any time. This makes the process much less stressful, particularly for the impatient.

Why It’s a Better Idea to Pre-Order Now Than Even Before

Even if you’re not dead set on customizing your new vehicle, you may still want to give it a shot. Due to the pandemic, which has led to a worldwide chip shortage, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to snatch up a new model on the lot. In fact, many of the models being sold right now are pre-owned, and they’re holding their value unlike ever before. While used prices are higher than ever, now is a great time to buy new vehicles–but with less variety on the showroom floor, 2022 is the year of “build to order.”

In fact, if you want a brand new vehicle, choosing a build-to-order model is about your only option. That is, unless you want to settle for less and blend in with the crowd. Even something as simple and wanting a specific color is unlikely unless you custom order your Ford. This rings true for all brands and is another reason why Certified Pre-Owned prices are going up.

While there are many benefits to buying a CPO when it’s within your budget, no one wants to pay roughly the same for a used model as they would a new one–but finding a new one isn’t likely if you only look at what is in stock. However, when you place an order now, it not only guarantees a new model, you’ll be promised a brand new model that meets your exact expectations.

In short, you don’t have to have a list of custom must-haves for a build-to-order process to be efficient. Since it’s difficult to locate a new vehicle at all right now, we recommend using this process, no matter how big or small your customization desires may be. Even something as small as wanting a sunroof is relevant now and may only be obtainable through the custom ordering process.

A green 2022 Ford Expedition Timberline is shown driving on a dusty trail.

How Different Really are These Models from Floor Models?

Don’t expect a Need For Speed level customization menu. The truth is that some customization features are better left as add-ons once you make your purchase. Video game add-ons such as underglow lighting or custom decals are left out of the build-to-order process and reserved for your service garage to help you with.

However, that said, Ford models offer a lot more customization options than you may think. Your custom menu is not just a collection of trim variations with different wheels and colors to choose from. You get to choose everything from your interior color to whether or not you want a sunroof, a heated steering wheel, or a specialized package. Plus, there are some things you can save money and time on by getting them up-front, like a better sound system or tinted windows.

Place Your Custom Order Today!

Time is running out, and the 2022 automotive world is looking grim when it comes to same-day deals. If you plan on purchasing a new model any time soon, now’s the time to place your orders. Pretty soon, everyone else is going to start catching on, and the manufacturers will be overrun with orders, delaying your vehicle’s arrival time. Plus, used models aren’t getting any cheaper, meaning that your trade-in deal will be worth more than ever!

It’s clear and simple–there’s no better time to place a custom vehicle order than today. And thanks to Ford’s easy build-to-order process, this statement remains true even if you’re logged on at 1:30 in the morning. Don’t waste any more time daydreaming. Start that custom order!