Avoiding the new car delivery fee

Since the delivery charges on new cars are usually over $500 is it possible to pick the car up at the factory (if assembled in the U.S.) and save the cost? Does any manufacturer allow this?

No, Tesla wants to but is not allowed.

See http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/17/tesla-motors-us-sales/

Tesla specifically does allow it:


I don’t know if they give you any discount for it though.

BMW also allows it (though you have to go to Germany where the factory is). The price is lower than going though a US dealer.


Like the rest of the new car price, it is totally negotiable. That is the first thing I take off the price of a new car.

That article is about the issue of dealers vs. direct manufacturer-to-consumer sales. It doesn’t address the question of whether you could custom-order a car through a dealer and then physically pick it up at the factory to save on the delivery fee.

You can pick up your brand new Volvo at the factory in Sweden. They give you a tour and let you drive it all over Sweden. I’m guessing you have to pay the shipping to the states.

GM used to do it for certain salaried GM employees. They’d fly them from Anderson, Indiana (where all the electrics used to be made for GM cars) to Detroit and the purchasers would drive their new cars home. I suppose it happened from other locales as well.

It used to be possible, but the Teamsters? objected to being beat out of employment. I don’t see how this could be negotiated away, other than the dealer eating it. Volunteer fire departments send someone to the factory to drive home their new rig.

One Piece At A Time

My dad got a deal on a Volkswagen camper something like this: He went to Europe, bought it there, and drove it around for a while, then shipped it to the States. Since it was no longer a new car, the list price was lower, and thus so was the import tax, or something like that. The trip to Europe was cheap for him, meanwhile, because he was in the service, and deadheaded a flight while on leave.

I know that if I ever buy certain GM trucks/SUVs, I’ll be pretty pissed if they charge me, because one of the big GM assembly plants for trucks and SUVs is in DFW (Arlington), and there’s no way it costs anyone $500 to drive the stupid thing a few miles to a GM dealership in the area.

I suspect the fee isn’t a GM fee, but a dealership fee, intended to discourage ordering a “bespoke” vehicle (so to speak), and encourage you to pick one that they already have on the lot in inventory.

I think you can pick them up at the factory though - I recall my aunt and friends flying to Detroit to take delivery of a new humongous GMC van, and then driving back to Houston in a binge of estate sales and antique shopping. (this would have been 1980 or so).

No idea if she had to pay the fee though.

With the tourist delivery thing, you still have to arrange it through a local dealer and I think you still have to pay the delivery fee. It’s just that it winds up saving you enough on the import duties importing a “used” car versus a new one that it pays for the trip.

The whole idea of the delivery fee is that the automakers want their dealers to be on a level playing field, so it should cost the same to deliver a car across the country as it does to deliver one across the street from the factory. In reality, just like all the dealer fees, it’s completely negotiable, although that’s probably one of the ones they’re least likely to waive. As always, the ever-elusive out-the-door price (price of the car + all the fees) is what you should be comparing.

The page I linked about BMW European delivery specifically says the savings (can be around 10%) is due to cutting out the local dealer, not import duty savings.

That, plus if you schedule the trip to pick up the car at the same time as you plan a grand tour of Europe, you can drive your own brand-new car around and save the cost of a rental car.

I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that the automakers charge EVERYONE a delivery fee- dealers and private citizens alike. The charging of the fee by dealers for ordered vehicles is more than likely a mechanism to discourage ordering, and encourage picking a car off the lot, as it’s very much in the dealer’s interest to move their inventory.

Or possibly the automakers don’t charge a fee, but you literally can’t buy directly, and have to go through a dealer, who will charge you that fee, regardless of where you actually pick it up. Same reason- they have a vested interest in selling you a car off the lot instead of having you order one and pick it up.

If the dealers charge a delivery fee whether you order a car or pick one off the lot, what incentive is there to choose a car off the lot?

Would anyone here like to read what actual authorities say on the subject?


On the other hand, the destination fee is averaged out over the entire line, so you don’t pay any more whether you pick up the car at the plant, or 1,500 miles away.

Suprisingly enough ‘dealer incentives’ Generally discounts the are currently offering only apply to current inventory. If you order a new car you are likely to pay actual msrp.

I’ve bought many vehicles, and in my experience, the fixed-fee factory destination charge that is set by the manufacturer and listed on the new car sticker is absolutely non-negotiable. Some dealers will try to tack on a an additional delivery charge of their own (usually on their own paperwork), which is B.S. This one is certainly negotiable.

Because the factory destination charge is charged whether you buy a vehicle off the lot or whether you order a vehicle from the factory, it has no bearing on encouraging or discouraging the ordering of a vehicle.

Easy. If you buy a vehicle off the lot, you get it right away. If you order a vehicle from the factory, you have to wait (4-6 weeks, in my experience).

For my last vehicle, the dealer didn’t have the vehicle I wanted with the factory-installed options that I wanted on the lot, so I ordered it. The dealer subsequently located a vehicle with the exact specs that I wanted; it was already on a ship en route to the U.S., and that’s the vehicle I got.