You are considering leasing a car, but you want some amenities that are important to you and your family. Can you custom order a leased car?
Can Your Custom Order A Leased Car?
Many dealerships will work with you to find a car that comes close to the specifications you want, even if you intend to lease it. The customization is limited to the manufacturer’s options, packages, and color schemes. You cannot alter or customize a leased car with non-OEM parts.
There are many advantages to leasing a car, most of which are not being locked into a long-term financial contract.
Dealerships would prefer you to lease rather than buy because they get to see you show up at the dealership sooner.
But what happens if the car lot doesn’t have the vehicle you want? In these days of pandemic-related supply chain issues, many dealerships are working on an “order only” basis, which means if they don’t have it, they need to order it from the manufacturer or find your car in the pipeline somewhere so that they can claim it.
Most dealerships will bend backward to accommodate their client’s requests.
If they still need to secure a vehicle on the lot that meets your requirements, they will contact other dealerships in their brand to see if they can swap a car and make a sale.
For the consumer, choices are limited to the packages, options, and amenities.
You won’t get your customized car if they don’t list your desired option.
Many manufacturers have “build and price” pages on their websites, allowing you to see what color schemes and amenities are offered.
A good idea is to pick options and print out the list before you even head to the dealership to negotiate.
Can You Order Non-Manufacturer Offered Parts on a Leased Vehicle?
The answer to this question is no. The manufacturer will not allow you to modify the vehicle in any way, either before or after you have signed the lease contract.
The reason for this rule is that with a leased vehicle, you, as the lessee, have to bring the car back to the dealership.
At that point, you can purchase the car, lease a different vehicle or turn the car in and walk away.
A dealership does not want a used car with aftermarket rims on it sitting forever.
As much as you might love those spinning rims, the dealership and the next buyer won’t see it that way.
Since the manufacturer (and the dealer as their representative) retains ownership rights (it is spelled out in the contract), they are the ones who technically own the car.
That means they have the authority to limit precisely what you can do to it during the lease period.
As mentioned, some dealerships will have quick orders (which refer to finding a customized vehicle) that the factory has added options on already. For an excellent article on quick orders, see fourwheeltrends.com
How Does a Lease Work?
A lease is similar to a rental contract, only for years rather than days.
As the purchaser, you work with the dealership to find the car of your dreams and agree to use the car for a certain period. Most lease contracts are 24, 36, 39, or 48 months.
The dealership calculates the usage cost (they have complicated algorithms) and presents you with a monthly figure. Hopefully, the number fits into your budget, and you sign a lease contract and drive away in a new car.
The lease contract is like any other agreement with lots of fine print. You will agree to certain things in signing your name to the contract.
For example, you agree to bring the car back at the end of the lease period without wear and tear (which is very hard to do)
You also agree not to use the car for commercial purposes (not using it as a taxicab) or put abuse the car by showing up at the race track just to show off for your friends.
At the end of the period (most leases are 36 months), you agree to bring the car back to the dealership (or a sister store of the same manufacturer) and decide what you want to do with the car.
You can purchase the car by financing the remaining balance of the car’s value or plopping down cash for the buyout.
You also have the option to lease a new vehicle if you want to change to a newer model.
The other option is to hand the keys to the salesman and walk away if you want to drive another brand (after you sign the mountain of release forms and the vehicle passes the dealership’s inspection process).
Once you purchase the car after the initial lease period, you are free to modify the car in any manner. You can’t change the look during the lease because you don’t own the car.
The manufacturer retains all ownership rights, including limiting what you can do.
Once the car is titled in your name, you can change whatever you want.
What if the Dealership Agrees to Modify the Car?
If the car salesman tells you that they can put different rims on the car or make other changes that the manufacturer does not offer, they are lying to you.
If a dealership did swap rims with another car on the lot or made any other modification, they would violate the terms of their dealer agreement with the manufacturer.
(While I have known it to happen, it is illegal for them to do so).
If you want something simple like a tow hitch on the back of a pickup truck, most manufacturers offer a tow package that can be added at the plant on the car you have your eyes on.
The dealership will likely look at what the manufacturer is producing in the next few months to see if they have that particular vehicle coming
If you are picky about what you want, expect to pay a higher price, and in these days of supply chain issues, you may have to wait a while before you get to drive your new ride.
- Most dealerships will work with you to find a car with factory-offered options.
- You cannot modify a leased vehicle per the stipulations of your lease contract.
- Once your lease ends, you can put anything on your desired car.