How Do Vehicle Reservations Work?

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Senior Pricing Analyst

As CarsDirect’s resident pricing expert, Alex offers must-know analyses of pricing & incentives to those looking to buy or lease a car. His consumer-oriented coverage of the latest trends and breaking news has been featured by The Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, Motor Trend, Automobile Magazine, and more.

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, Senior Pricing Analyst - November 29, 2021

If you're looking to buy a highly-anticipated car or truck, placing a reservation could be a good way to get your hands on one before other shoppers. However, it's important to know that there can be some built-in limitations worth knowing about before putting down your name on a reservation.

First, the reservation process for a given car may differ by brand and the dealer you plan to work with. For example, a major Lexus dealer here in Southern California requires a $1,000 reservation via credit card to save your place in line for the 2022 IS 500 F Sport performance sedan.

In contrast, a manufacturer reservation program for the Nissan Ariya can involve additional benefits like free charging credits for the first 10,000 customers. In both of these cases, shoppers who choose to put down a deposit on a new car can have their money refunded anytime before delivery.

From that standpoint, a reservation may be a smart move. The downside is that a reservation may not automatically guarantee you the car you want. For example, brands like Chevy will have dealers reach out to customers to place a firm order. Even then, you may need to wait for an order to get a production date.

Due to an ongoing chip shortage, brands like Ford aren't even able to fill every order they have. While there may be forms of compensation for consumers, the fact is that dealers may be at the mercy of what comes from the factory. Still, when cars are hard to find, being able to place a reservation could save you time.

For example, the upcoming 2023 Z06 Corvette is already getting thousands of reservations even though Chevy hasn't even announced how much the car will cost. As a result, cautiously waiting for a car to arrive on the lot could make it extraordinarily difficult to get your hands on the next car or truck of your dreams.

Vehicle Reservation vs. Order Differences

, Senior Pricing Analyst

As CarsDirect’s resident pricing expert, Alex offers must-know analyses of pricing & incentives to those looking to buy or lease a car. His consumer-oriented coverage of the latest trends and breaking news has been featured by The Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, Motor Trend, Automobile Magazine, and more.

Follow On: Twitter

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