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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, my wife and I are ready to pull the trigger and order since our supplier pricing authorization code expires in December. We want to make sure we get her Enclave before Christmas, and in light of the lead-times, we figure we better order now! I was hoping I could get some advice since there are several different dealers we can order from here in Birmingham. From what I understand, certain dealers are ranked "higher" than others in GM's hierarchy due to sales volume and have more "allocations" for new orders and hence should be able to give us a quicker order turn around. My question is, do any of you know of any way (website, etc) I can find out a dealer's ranking? I am guessing I won't get a straight answer from any of the salesmen as they will ALL say - "We can get your vehicle here in record time compared to those other guys!" :thumb: Are there any specific questions I need to ask them to let them know they can't pull the wool over my eyes and force them to be straight with me? Can I ask them to show me their allocation list? Have any of you been able to pry that information or any other helpful information out of your dealer's hand? Any help is appreciated.
 

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You can ask the dealer anything. What response you get back will determine if they are someone you should deal with. They should have a full disclosure mentality. If you ask if they have allocation available then have them prove it. And if you place your order with them make sure it gets entered, and approved for allocation. That is half of the battle. One past 1100 status code and sitting at 2000+ it is then basically up to GM/Buick based on constraints, 3rd shifts, and backlog.

I would also recommend that you do multiple price quotes at home via the supplier discount website and have the numbers in front of you. If you show the dealership that you know the score they are less likely to try the traditional car sales tactics. Be an informed customer. Also you may want to check around for financing BEFORE placing your order. Capital One and Roadloans both will prequalify you (no cost) and send you a blank check up to a specific amount. When you already have the financing taken care of and a better rate the what GM is offering you limit the amount of "price haggling" that can affect your final cost. Dealers love to play the numbers game during financing, don't let them. If you already have finaning arranged and a check in hand you are then basically a "cash" customer.

Ask how often will they update you on your order status and how. Lastly if you do leave a deposit make it as small as possible and ask for the terms to get out of the contract and recover your deposit.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you comiccolec. I do appreciate the pointers. I know you have been frustrated with your order, and I sincerely hope you get better news and soon. I have printed out the supplier pricing and have secured pre-approved financing (although I am leary to get a check since I have no idea how long it will take to get the Enclave). I believe we will go to the closest (and friendliest so far) dealer and ask the right questions and see what responses we get. I hope to meet with them this weekend, so I will post the results. If they satisfy me that they are being forthcoming, we may sign the deal then. Otherwise, we will try options 2, 3 etc. until we feel comfortable with a dealer.
 

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Remember the most important thing in dealing with a dealership. They have 2 different profit centers.
The first is obviously on the sale of the vehicle. The second is the service department.
I told the dealer that since I am buying using Supplier Pricing that the price is pretty much set, so I asked them to tell me what difference or benefit I would get from dealing with their service department. In other words the deal is the same everywhere so what sets them apart from the competition.

Some of the things I was looking for in the service department were:

Service department hours and days. Are they open early, stay open late, open on Saturdays, etc.
Courtesy transportation to work / home and pickup and return to the dealership.
Preferred treatment over walk-ins.
Loaner vehicle if you work a distance from dealership.
Wash your car after every service.
Do they accept the credit car you normally use (Amex, MasterCard, Visa, Debit, etc)?
Free oil changes every 5th change.
Free coffee and donuts in the waiting area.
Dedicated service advisor who will get to know you and your needs, requirements.

If the dealership knows that you will get your service where you buy your vehicle they are more motivated to give the little extras and assistance.
If you are just buying and will never have your vehicle serviced at their dealership you will not get the perks and the extra help.

The service department is how a dealership stays in business and how they keep you as a customer, "a repeat customer".

Take the time to meet the service advisors, service manager, look at the service bays. Hang out in the waiting room and listen to the cashier talk to customers paying their bills.
These little things will make your life and service experiences more pleasant in the long run.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Great pointers.....thanks again. One additional question. From what I understand, dealers are being limited in the number of orders they can place per month for the Enclave correct? They also are limited to the number of "luxury packages" they can order, right? So I basically need to ask them if I place my order today, what position would I be in their "allocation list" for an order period and then the luxury package correct?
 

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Dealers get allocation based on past sales. If they sold a lot of top end Buicks in the past they will get more allocation then a dealership that sold less.
The Luxury package is constrained nationwide. They only are building a specific number of vehicles with the luxury package each week.

So with that said, the dealers control how fast you go from status 1100 = Preliminary Order (Order passed GM edit tables but dealers has not received allocation to place order)
to status 2000 = Accepted By GM (Dealer used allocation to place order into production). To move from 1100 to 2000 requires the dealer to use one of their allocation to "place" your order in line.

They can have as many vehicles on order as they want. My dealer has many on order right now between paid customer orders and stock orders. However GM makes the dealer use one of their "allocation slots" to specify which vehicle gets built for them next. So if a dealer has 10 on their list but only two allocations they can only get 2 built. Most dealers will use their allocation based on when the vehicle was ordered. First come First served. Some will put preference on orders based on size of deposits, long time relationships, VIP status, and other criteria that at times seems a little unusual. Some dealers are known to put orders for stock ahead of customer orders with the theory being that a sold order is money in the bank so it is more benefitial to them to make another order from a stock vehicle sitting on their lot. Most of the reputable dealers will place real customer sold orders ahead of stock orders. The exception is to get one on the lot for demos, etc.

Once they have "allocated" your order the rest is up to GM. When GM takes your allocated vehicle through the various phases of being built it will advance through the following status codes.

2500 = Preferenced (Order pulled to the production system)
3000 = Accepted By Production Control (Order input into the production system)
3100 = Sequenced (Order sequenced for Production)
3300 = Scheduled For Production (Order is scheduled into the plant build cycle)
3400 = Broadcast (Order is sent to various build & supplier areas to bring order together)
3800 = Produced (Order is built and VIN# shows in the Dealer Order system now)

Once built it will be shipped to the dealership.

4150 = Invoiced (Order is invoiced to the dealer)
4200 = Shipped (Vehicle is shipped to the dealer or point of delivery)
5000 = Delivered To Dealer

And then delivered to you.
6000 = Delivered To Customer

So where do constraints like the luxury package fit into this. Since they only have parts to built a certain amount of vehicles with the particular constrained item GM will pick and choose which "allocated" vehicles get built and in what order. This is based on the available parts on hand from their suppliers.

The luxury package is constrained at the moment based on the Articulating Headlights. It used to be based on the telescopic steering wheel. This all changes week to week.
The dealer will know what the contraints are and why they are constrained but will not be able to guess when a particular vehicle will be pushed through the system.

So to summarize. There are multiple waiting lines. The first line is at the dealer. They have to order your vehichle and then use an allocation to get you to move into the second line.
The next line is at GM and it basically gets divided into two lines. The first of the two is for orders placed without constraints, and the second of the two is for orders with constraints.
Once you have gotten through either of these waiting lines your order is built and then delivered.

I really hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you! You have been a GREAT help. That was a perfect explanation. Now I am ready to go to the dealer this weekend with my best weapon in hand - KNOWLEDGE - so hopefully he can't dupe me. Based on our first visit and test drive, I really feel like he is a rare "honest" salesman and dealer so I hope they are 100% up front with me anyway. The main thing HE can tell me to make my decision easy is where my order will stand in HIS allocation list. If I can live with the slot he gives me, then the rest is up to GM, and I really have no control over them - unfortunately. Thanks again for your help, and I do hope you get your Enclave SOON!
 
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