A red 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is shown driving on a rocky road.

Skip the Crowds! How Ford & Others Are Changing the Car Buying Game with Custom Ordering

These past couple of years have changed a lot about how we manage regular everyday tasks. For some, commuting into the office is no longer part of their routine, while for others, perhaps a total shift in their career was necessary. Among these changes is how we shop, as this focus has become more about convenience and less about the in-person experience, and the same goes for car buying. Now, more than ever, automakers are developing ways to make the car shopping experience more streamlined, safer, and easier with build-to-order features designed with the customer in mind, and Ford is one of the power players. You’re now able to order a new Ford and have it custom-tailored to your specifications, all without setting foot on a dealership lot, so here’s how it works.

What Is a Build-to-Order Vehicle?

Imagine not being limited to what resides at a dealership; instead, being able to create the car you’ve always wanted, or better yet, the car you absolutely need. From must-have features to make your commute more comfortable to child-friendly options, designed to keep your precious cargo safe, anything is possible when you get to create the vehicle that works with your lifestyle. This program, that many automakers are beginning to implement, spawned from the need for more options and a better all-around buying experience. In the midst of the pandemic, chip shortages caused many factories to halt production on many popular vehicles, and dealership lots suffered from not being able to offer more options to potential buyers. This, in turn, caused automakers to jump into action.

This process is still new, and many brands are continuing to work on figuring out which vehicles will be offered under the custom ordering platform. Ford, for example, is experimenting with its Ford Express Buy program, which offers build-to-order options on its acclaimed Mustang Mach-E model. Partnering with dealerships across the country, automakers, like Ford, are looking forward to working together and expanding the custom ordering platform to include more vehicles, more specifications, and of course, a beneficial buying environment for all.

By working with area dealerships, customers are able to complete the process totally online, from applying for financing to designing the vehicle that matches their needs and budgets perfectly. The Mustang Mach-E, for example, can be customized by trim, battery, powertrain, color, interior features, special packages, and more, allowing buyers to get the vehicle they want with all the features to make their drive more exciting. As more vehicles are added to the custom ordering lineup, the way you buy a car is about to change.

A green 2021 Ford Explorer Timblerine is shown parked in a woodsy area.

Benefits of Custom Ordering

Now that you have more of an understanding of how custom car ordering works, specifically when it comes to Ford, how will it continue to benefit the way we purchase our vehicles for the long term? Initially stemming from inventory and material shortages, build-to-order vehicles were expected to be temporary; however, Ford CEO Jim Farley has explained that the brand is “committed to going to an order-based system.” This just may be exactly what car shoppers are looking for when it comes to their buying experience.

Among the many benefits that go along with custom ordering, one of the most apparent is the ability to order your vehicle on your own time without the need to visit a crowded dealership. Avoiding the anxiety that tends to accompany visiting a dealership, especially on busy days, is a gamechanger for buyers everywhere. In addition to this, as custom ordering platforms like Ford Express Buy and others continue to evolve, buyers will have more choices when it comes to their vehicle options. Being able to design the vehicle with the features you want, as well as engine selection, interior elements, and more, allows you to be more satisfied with your purchase at the end of the process. After all, if you have a certain vehicle in mind with a specific trim or package, color or engine, why should you have to settle with only what’s right in front of you?

Another benefit affects every party in the process. With more custom ordering options available, dealerships won’t have an excess of low-selling cars on their lots, and factories won’t be cranking out loads of vehicles that don’t sell well. Instead, buyers will be getting what they want, and dealerships will be able to effectively keep up with the trends and needs of their area drivers. It’s a win-win for everybody involved.

Limitations of Custom Ordering

Currently, the biggest limitation of online ordering is which vehicles are offered since the process is still so new. It is to be expected, however, that with the rise in popularity of this convenient system, more and more vehicles will be added to the custom ordering lineup. Imagine how easy it will be to buy the car you’ve always dreamed of with such simplicity and assurance. All of this is on the horizon.

Another limitation of custom ordering is that since these vehicles are being built to your unique specifications, it just makes sense that it will take a little more time for them to be delivered. If you weigh the pros and cons of this, the benefits of being able to drive the exact vehicle you want far outweigh the wait. You may also find that not every dealership is involved in the custom ordering process, which will undoubtedly change as the program becomes more robust. This is why it will be important to find a dealership that will be able to help you with your individual needs, which has always been a top recommendation, no matter how you shop for a car.

A white 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E is shown parked during an 'order a new Ford' event.

How to Custom Order a Ford

Ford makes it easy to custom order its exceptional Mustang Mach-E. All you have to do is visit their Configure & Customize site, click “Build Your Own” and the process begins. I had built quite a spectacular model in minutes, opting for the Premium model in Rapid Red Metallic with the extended range battery and perforated ActiveX seating in Black Onyx. Not only was I at the helm of virtually every aspect of my shopping experience, Ford made it easy for me to apply for financing and hit that bright shiny “Order” button. For purposes of research, I refrained from ordering it; however, it sure was tempting.

The bottom line is this…it’s undeniably easy to custom order a vehicle without the time spent haggling over prices, dealing with crowds, and being limited to what lies on a specific lot. The best part about the process is that as more dealerships partner with this program, you’ll have help when it comes to finding the right vehicle, building it to your specifications, and financing it properly. Buying a car is a big decision, and there is a lot to take into consideration throughout the entire process, which is why it helps to have a professional leading the way. From what features will work best for your driving needs to which financing options would be most beneficial for you, having an extra pair of hands in the process is always a good idea. It’s important to note that if I were to actually click “Order” I would have absolutely wanted to have a professional look over my order first before making my purchase.

When it’s time to order a new Ford, rest assured that the process is pleasantly efficient and, above all else, really fun. You get to choose all of the options you want without feeling any type of pressure or time constraints. Plus, at the end of the process, you’re able to know that you made the right choice with your vehicle. When the day comes for it to be delivered, there’s no comparing the sense of excitement and pride you’ll have in knowing that you were in charge of the process from beginning to end.