Inbound car to dealership - ouija board for arrival date?

Dealership (toyota in MA) says the car is theirs, it’s inbound, but they cannot tell me the actual date of arrival at the dealership. Yet, they happily took deposit money against the car with VIN, etc. and it was a good deal. So she’s coming. But if I can track my jockey shorts on Amazon, can’t a dealership track a car? We all need underwear (well, other than those leasehackin commando people here) and we all need a car. Can someone shoot it to me straight?

Toyota provides a rough window of when the car is arriving to the dealership on inbound units, dealerships get a better sense of the actual day as it gets closer to arriving. The dealership is correct that they dont know an exact day, it is what it is

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COVID has us screwed up at Chevy too. I have cars that show arrived status still in shipment and vice versa. It’s a mess.

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Are they also several thousand pounds, coming by carrier from the nearest port?

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Deal with this daily. They get held up at the port awaiting inspection all the time. They may know a window for arrival but likely won’t tell you so you don’t get annoyed if it doesn’t show up during that time…

Be patient if it’s a good deal. It’ll come 9/10 on time

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Benjamin Franklin became the first Postmaster General in 1775, and the USPS still can’t track a package.

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You got wheels on your briefs? This makes no sense. Big stuff much easier to track. It’s like losing a container but it didn’t fall off the boat.

Even if you allow for the false dichotomy (you’re comparing apples and grocery store shelves), it makes perfect sense.

The merchandise you buy from Amazon has cleared customs, met Amazon’s insane rules of labeling, and is in a putaway location as available to sell inventory. When you order, it’s picked/packed/shipped using a common carrier* or their own shipping.

Amazon lost a $13 rain gauge they sent me last week - the tracking said “Arriving today” for 2 days. My nearest Amazon DC is about 12 miles away.

Your mystery Toyota (btw thanks for spelling Ouija correctly), depending where it was built — it may come off a ship after clearing customs, or be staged at the port if it was built domestically — where it needs to be inspected, and any PIOs can be installed. It’s aggregated into a shipment (usually the same allocation for that dealer), shipped by a contract carrier to the dealer (when it leaves the port it moves from the manufacturer’s inventory to the dealer’s, still not available to sell). When it arrives it needs to be unwrapped, PDI’ed (where any recalls or TSBs are fixed), and sent to cleanup where they hopefully don’t find any issues. At this point it can be sold. The nearest port to me is Long Beach which is 93 miles further than the nearest Amazon DC.

That is in the best of times without COVID. They can’t tell you for certain because until it leaves the port on a contact carrier, they technically don’t even own it, they have just reserved it under their upcoming allocation.

And. And. For instance: if they get 1 truck a week, and they have been waiting for an entire truck of RAV4s and those are queued up behind your truck, those are coming first.


They tell you they don’t know because

  • they don’t know until it leaves the port
  • if it arrives and there are any issues (open recall that requires a part that takes a couple days), and you are expecting it yesterday, the customer will usually blow their smokestack.

Better to tell the customer when - when they are certain.


Take it from someone that has sold the last 2 month of vehicles before they hit the lot. People are not very understanding when they make plans to buy a car and it gets delayed. That’s why I’ve reiterated the last 2 months only that my trucks will be in by end of the month, no promises on dates, and if you’re in a hurry it’s better not to buy from me. Toyota is having major supply chain issues.

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“Good, Fast, Cheap; pick 2”

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