In 2014, Canadians bought more than 1.85 million new cars, and most them went home with their new owners after a process familiar to many of us: identify your needs and wants; set a budget; do some research to find vehicles that line up with your needs, wants, and budget; discover your wants have a bigger budget than your needs; decide it would be easier to simply never leave your house ever again. And all that happens before you even set foot in a dealership.
Once you’ve figured out what you need in a new car, there are a few outside-the-box ways to take possession of your new vehicle; here are a few of our favourites.
Full-disclosure: European delivery (ED) doesn’t make the actual buying process any more special, but it gives you something fun to look forward to after you’ve signed the paperwork.
BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Volvo offer ED to Canadian buyers, and by and large, all four brands’ programs work the same way: once you’ve bought the car (and paid the ED premium) and arranged a delivery date with the manufacturer, you pick up your car on The Continent, and spend some time getting to know it while touring Europe.
It seems a popular enough thing to do: BMW recently reached a significant milestone, delivering its 150,000th car at the company’s Munich headquarters to Americans Shannon and Jared Lantzy (pictured above with Shannon’s new 328i xDrive Touring), who bought a 3 Series wagon through the European Delivery program.
With all four companies, the deal includes registration and road taxes for the duration of your stay in Europe, and some throw in a factory tour. Keep in mind you won’t get a free vacation out of the deal: you’ll have to arrange your own airfare and accommodations. Volvo is unique in that it looks after plane tickets and one night’s hotel stay; Porsche’s program includes one night in a hotel.
Once you’re done touring the old world, leave your car at a designated drop-off point, and it is then shipped home to you.
For buyers with lots (and we mean LOTS) of money to spend, some prestige automakers will spec out a car however you want it. Bentley is one of them: through its Mulliner coachbuilding division, the British marque will let your wallet overrule your sense of taste and let you order a car with, among other things, a garish leather interior.
Online production tracking
Dealer inventory means a less-picky buyer can choose a car that’s already on the lot. But if the car you really want doesn’t exist yet, anywhere in Canada, you’ll have to special-order it. Some manufacturers add an element of fun to that with online tracking that lets you “watch” as your purchase moves from an invoice in a computer system to a completed car.
Here’s Audi’s quick promo for its MyAudi tracker; Brad Horn of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Canada says Dodge Viper buyers can sign up for order tracking, too.