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The problem with buying a new car with a waiting list | comment

2016 Ford Ranger Wildtrak

Ford is patting itself on the back because it has queues stretching around the block for its new Mustang and the most expensive versions of its new Ranger Wildtrak.

But this newfound popularity is a double-edged sword. How many customers is Ford losing because they're not prepared to wait a year for a Mustang and six months for a ute?

Ford has been telling us breathlessly it is finally listening to the customer. It might also want to look at how it got its forecasts so massively wrong.

Ford thought only 1000 Aussies would take a Mustang in its first year.

At last count, the order bank stretches beyond 6000.

It expected only 4 per cent of Ranger demand to be the $60,000-plus Wildtrak model.

True demand is running at 15-20 per cent.

The lesson for buyers: if you sign for an in-demand car, you should get in writing the likely delivery time.

Then amend the contract or insert a clause — "deal is null and void and deposit is refunded in full if the car is not delivered by (date)" — and get the dealer principal or most senior person on the floor to countersign.

Otherwise you could be left hanging indefinitely.

Here's a case study: my mate, a lifelong, second-generation Ford fan, was prepared to wait six months for a Wildtrak — only to have the delivery date moved back. Ford hadn't ordered the car from the factory until seven weeks after he put down his deposit. So he walked into a Toyota showroom and ordered a HiLux SR5 with the lot. He picks it up this week, six days after signing the deal.

He'll get his deposit back but it'll be a long time before he's in a Ford showroom again.

There could be many other customers like him. The predicament worsens if they're uncertain as to when their car will arrive and whether they're entitled to get their deposit back.