What Does It Mean When Your Car Is In Transit?

March 18th, 2022 by
Anyone familiar with the auto industry has come across the term ‘in transit’ during car purchases. Buying your dream car is an exciting journey that offers multiple options depending on your needs, preferences, and budget. One of the least known facts about car purchases is that you can buy a car that hasn’t arrived at the dealer yet.

The above state is known as ‘in transit.’ It involves buying a car that a dealer has ordered from the manufacturer but is yet to arrive. The term may also refer to vehicles purchased by one dealer from another. We will discuss everything you need to know when it is said that your car is in transit on purchase.

Factory Orders



Based on the above explanation, it is possible to buy a car that isn’t available in the dealership’s stock. In such cases, the dealer may have ordered the car earlier on or after your purchase. If the case is the latter, the dealer takes time to study all the manufactured vehicles before ordering one that matches your needs and specs. Upon completion of the manufacturing, the car stays at the factory until plans for delivery are done. Once it leaves the factory, it is said to be ‘in transit.’ Most vehicles in transit are delivered to the dealership via transport trucks, and the dealer should keep the buyer updated on its status. The manufacturer keeps the dealer up to date on all the steps involved in building the car and delivering it. The dealer’s responsibility is to keep the buyer informed of every step.

Dealer Locates

When you buy a car out of stock from a dealer, they don’t have to order from the manufacturer exclusively. They can also get the car from another dealership on your behalf. After determining the vehicle you want, the dealer proceeds to locate it using the manufacturer’s computer program. The latter allows dealers to access dealers inventory and vehicle information nationwide. Once you agree to buy the car and the two dealers agree on the terms, the other dealer releases the vehicle. At this point, it is said to be ‘in transit until it arrives at your dealer’s showroom.

Time Frame

Factory orders are more complex compared to dealer locates. Therefore, the latter is easier and quicker compared to factory orders. A dealer locate can take up to one week for you to get your car as all your dealer has to do is find a driver to travel to the other dealership, pick up the car and drive it back. On the other hand, factory orders vary depending on how long the manufacturing process takes, the weather, and market conditions, among others. When the vehicle hits transit, it may take a few weeks to arrive.


Dealers have no power to influence the transportation process of factory orders. By telling you that your Mazda is in transit or any other car you are buying, their biggest hope is that it arrives as soon as possible. Therefore, this option is ideal if you have adequate time and are willing to wait. If not, you should settle for a car in the dealership’s stock or keep shopping around for another dealer with your dream car in stock. Most manufacturer websites allow you to shop around for dealers with your specific vehicle in mind. Since some dealers may not refund your deposit after making a factory order or dealer locate, you should research thoroughly before making any payments. That way, you are free to shop elsewhere if you don’t find the terms with the current dealer suitable or friendly.

Benefits of Buying a Car in Transit

Buying a vehicle in transit may seem like an inconveniencing step, primarily if you work against strict deadlines and time constraints. Unknown to most people, this technique of buying cars brings along some benefits, which include:


Like building a home, getting a car in transit allows you the opportunity to tell the manufacturer what you want. The manufacturer puts every idea to create reality – your dream car that matches your needs and preference. The secret to buying a vehicle in transit is customized to suit your goals and needs. While countless vehicles are available in the market for sale, getting one with an accurate match for your needs is impossible. However, buying a unit in transit offers you a chance to live your dream. Grab it! The only virtue you need is patience as the manufacturer customizes the car for you.

Reserved Car

Upon completing the manufacturing process, your car is reserved and put in transit to your dealer. The manufacturer keeps the dealer updated on every step from manufacturing to delivery.

Lock in the best deals at Fresno Mazda now! Cars in transit record less competition to the ones in stock. Choosing the former allows you to lock in the best deal without unnecessary competition or avoidable costs and expenses.

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