3.0 The Order Process

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Porsche Boxster (986) FAQ

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3.1 Finding a Dealer
3.2 Placing the Deposit
3.3 Ordering Your Car
3.4 Taking Delivery
3.5 Tourist Delivery

At the current time, because the demand far outstrips the supply, there are almost no Boxsters on dealer's lots. So you will need to order a Boxster from a dealer. Below are the details of the process.

3.1 Finding a Dealer

Although this may seem the simplest thing in the world, it actually isn't. Each dealer is different from the others. A dealer might have a good service department and a bad sales department or vice-versa. You don't have to use a dealer just because it is the nearest one to your home. Many dealers will do a courtesy delivery to a dealer near where you live. Also, consider that driving a Boxster 500 miles from a dealer to your home isn't exactly torture. Get recommendations from others who have dealt with the dealership and salesperson you will be using.

Most dealers maintain a list of people waiting for Boxsters. Some dealers have shorter lists than others. By shopping around, you may be able to find a dealer with an early opening. A few dealers don't maintain lists at all, and catching them at the right moment may get you a car. Also, people sometimes back out of accepting delivery of their car. Sometimes you can get a car that has already been ordered, or sometimes already delivered. Depending on where the car is in the order process, you may still be able to change the options before it is built. Also, sometimes a dealer gets to accept an already built "pool" car with a certain set of options. These cars do not come out of the dealer's allocation and are used to reward dealers for playing by PCNA's rules. For example, the first Boxster every dealer had to accept was Guards Red with no options. You may be able to pick up one of these pool cars if there is no one else higher on the waitlist that is willing to take it.

Ask to see the dealer's Inventory Manager Summary Listing. All orders that have been submitted to PAG for production will appear on this listing. You can use this information to verify how many cars the dealer currently has on order and see how many cars are allocated each month. PCNA requires dealers to order units quarterly, so if it is January, all orders have already been submitted for February, March, and April build units. (For example, Dealers got their allocation for February/March/April on December 8, 1997. Orders for the February builds needed to be in by December 12, March orders by December 19, and April orders by December 26.) Since a car usually arrives 6 to 10 weeks after its build date, if the dealer is telling you in January that you will get a May delivery, the car has probably already been ordered! You may not be able to specify the options that you want if it is beyond the cutoff date for changing an existing order. [Thanks to Chris Huck of Pioneer Centres Porsche in San Diego, CA for this information.]

Make sure that your salesperson understands that you are going to demand at least bi-weekly reports of your current status code (described below) once the car has been ordered. If the salesperson can't agree to provide this information, appears hesitant, or doesn't know what a status code is, get another dealer. The salesperson is earning a substantial commission on this vehicle, and the main thing that he or she does to earn it is provide you information.

Check http://www.porsche.com webout.gif (902 bytes) for a list of dealers.

One option to consider is courtesy delivery. This option allows you to order from a dealer in Virginia, for example, but when the car arrives at the port in the U.S. it is delivered directly to a dealer in Colorado. Not all dealers will arrange courtesy delivery, and not all dealers will receive them either, because neither dealer can assure the quality of the work the other dealer does. Since the dealer that actually receives the car has to do preparation work, detailing, and do the walk-through of the vehicle, there is some expense involved. The rules for how the receiving dealer is compensated for this is negotiable. The selling dealer may compensate the receiving dealer by $500 or so for doing this work, you may have to pay the receiving dealer, you may pay the selling dealer who compensates the dealer, or the selling dealer may cover it gratis. Find out how this compensation will work when you make the deposit. Courtesy delivery is useful when picking up the car from the selling dealer and driving it home may be inconvenient due to schedule or weather.

3.2 Placing the Deposit

The first step is to make a deposit with the dealer to hold your place in line. A typical deposit is $1000, but it has ranged from $250 to $2500. This deposit should be fully refundable at any point, but don't expect to gather interest if you want your money back. Because of the high demand for the Boxster, expect to pay the full Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) at the time of delivery for the Boxster. Get it in writing that that is what you will pay. A few unscrupulous dealers will try to charge you for "paint treatments" or some such to inflate the price over the MSRP. If you get one of these dealers, walk out the door and write a letter to PCNA.

When you take delivery, you will also have to pay a transportation fee, tax, license, and luxury tax for the vehicle. The luxury tax for 1997 was 8% of the cost of the vehicle in excess of $36,000. The luxury tax for 1998 is 7% of the cost of the vehicle in excess of $36,000. Unless the law is changed, the percentage will be dropping 1% each year until it is phased out. If your vehicle arrives at the dealer at the end of December, there could be advantageous tax consequences for delaying taking delivery until January.

Depending on the length of your dealer's waitlist, there will be a number of months for your name to get to the top of the list.

This is the time to do a lot of research. Can you really afford this car? Check out the financial calculators at http://www.smartcalc.com/cgi-bin/smartcalc/calcs/dd/robm webout.gif (902 bytes) for some idea. Call your insurance company and see how much insurance is going to cost you. Drive conservatively to avoid that extra ticket; you'll need those points after you take delivery!

When your name comes to the top of the waitlist, your dealer will call you to move onto the next step. It is fairly common that a dealer will only give you a couple of days to make your order. You should already have the options that you want picked out. While you are waiting, check with your dealer often to make sure that the options that you want are still available as PCNA frequently changes available colors and options. When your name gets to the top of the list, you should be ready.

The options available in North America are different from those available in the rest of the world. Also, the list of options that are available changes from time to time. For example, special exterior colors weren't available throughout most of the 1998 model year, but are now.

3.3 Ordering Your Car

At this point, you will order your car. You tell your dealer the list of options that you want. Your dealer will ask for more money, a typical amount being another $4000.00. Make sure you fully understand how the dealer will refund this money should for any reason you do not accept delivery of your car. Your dealer will enter the order into a computer system called IDCS (Dealer Communication System) that sends it off to PCNA. When PCNA accepts the order, you move into the first step of the build process. Ask your dealer for a computer printout of the accepted order, called a pro-forma invoice with all of your options listed. There are horror stories of cars being delivered with options and colors messed up. If you make sure that the order is entered correctly into the computer, your chances of getting the car you want are extremely good.

Some people have had trouble getting the pro-forma invoice from their dealer. This is a bad sign that your dealer will not give you information that you need later. Consider finding another dealer and/or salesperson if they cannot provide this information, even if it means moving back to the end of the waiting list.

When your order is entered into the IDCS, it is assigned an order number (also called the reference number). The order number is a number, such as 1008384, that is used to reference your car as it is being built. As you wait for your car, it will go through various stages described below, in order. You should be able ask your dealer at any time to look up where the car is in the order process.

ACKNWL Order acknowledged by PCNA
ACPORD Order accepted by PCNA
MFGCNF Assigned a Production Number
PLPROD Vehicle is Planned for Production
PROD Vehicle in Production
CMPPRD Vehicle Completed Production
PRDLST Factory Last Checkpoint
IMPINV Vehicle Complete and Invoiced
ONVESL On Vessel
IMPPRT Vehicle at U.S. Port
PDI Vehicle at Charleston PDI (Pre-Delivery Inspection)
PDIFIN Vehicle Finished PDI
INVSHP Invoiced and Shipped to Dealer
DLRARR Arrived at Dealership

[Thanks to Valerie at Gaudin Porsche in Las Vegas, Nevada]

For examples of how long cars have been in each status code, take a look at this comparison: http://www.toolworks.com/bilofsky/boxster/orders.html webout.gif (902 bytes). [Thanks to Walt Bilofsky for compiling the info.]

From the point that the car is entered into the IDCS until it reaches the ACPORD status, the dealer can change configuration and options directly using the IDCS. Once the ACPORD status has been reached, the dealer can no longer change the car through the IDCS. While it is in the MFGCNF state, the dealer may be able to change the order. The dealer can find out by going into the IDCS, selecting the Opt field, then pressing 8 for View. If the message shows "Released to production department" or "Assigned a Production Number", it is not changeable. If these messages do not appear, the dealer can fill out an Order Change Request form and fax it to Joe West at PCNA. After making a change, make sure that you get a printed copy of the updated pro-forma invoice with your name at the top. Also be careful when making changes, because some changes might go through and others be rejected. So if you change both the interior and exterior color you might only get one changed, which might leave you with an undesirable color combination. Once the car reaches the PLPROD status, the configuration is not changeable.

The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is assigned by the time the car reaches the PRDPNT step. If the eleventh letter in the VIN is a U, your car is a Valmet build. If it is a S, yours is a Stuttgart build. The 10th letter of the VIN identifies the model year. A V is 1997, W is a 1998, X is a 1999, and Y is a 2000.

At various times, other codes may show up on the IDCS. For example, if you ordered Tourist Delivery. The complete list of IDCS codes are listed below.

ACKNWL Order acknowledged by PCNA
ACPORD Order accepted by PCNA
CANCEL Order rejected by PCNA, no allocation
CBUYBK CRV - Customer Intl PCNA Fleet
CMPPRD Vehicle Completed Production
COCAR Company Car
COOPRT Certificate of Origin Printed
CRTSYD Courtesy Dealer Delivery
CSTINV Customer Inventory Vehicle Delivered
CUSTMR Customer Order
DBUYBK CRV - Dealer Into PCNA Fleet
DLRARR Arrived at Dealership
DLRDMI In Dealer Demo
DLRARR Arrived at Dealership
DLRDMI In Dealer Demo
DLRDMO Out Dealer Demo
DLRINV Dealer Inventory
EXPPDI Expedite at PDI
HLDORD Order Held/Over Allocation
IMPINV Vehicle Complete and Invoiced
IMPPRT Vehicle at U.S. Port
INTRND Vehicle Shipped to Dealer
INVCRD Issued Credit
INVDLR Invoiced Dealer
INVSHP Invoiced and Shipped to Dealer
MFGCNF Assigned a Production Number
NVSPRT NVIS Printed (Canadian Documents)
ONVESL On Vessel
ORDTFR Order Transferred
ORDTYP Order Type Changed
ORDXMC Changed Order Transmitted to PAG
PDI Vehicle at Charleston PDI
PDIFIN Vehicle Finished PDI
PDIMON Monroney Printed
PLANPU Planned Pick Up at Factory
PLPROD Vehicle is Planned for Production
PRCPRT Price Protect Vehicle Price
PRDBDY Vehicle in Factory Body Shop
PRDEST Estimated Completion Date
PRDLST Factory Last Checkpoint
PRDPNT Vehicle in Factory Paint Shop
PRDQLT Factory Quality Check
PRDSIN Vehicle in Exclusive Shop
PRDSOT Vehicle left Exclusive Shop
PROD Vehicle in Production
PRODLR TD (Tourist Delivery) Invoice Mailed
PROFRM TD (Tourist Delivery) Invoice Printed
REFREQ Refund Requested
RELEAS Order released and awaiting transmission to PAG
RTLRVR Retail Reversal
SHOWPR Show/Press Car
SHPDLR Ship to Dealer
SHPMFT Shipping manifest
STOCK Stock Inventory
TDARUS TD (Tourist Delivery) Arrived at Importer Port
TDCHKR TD (Tourist Delivery) Final Payment Received
TDCNFS TD (Tourist Delivery) Confirmation Sent
TDDEP TD (Tourist Delivery) Deposit Received
TDDOC TD (Tourist Delivery) Received Documentation
TDINVM TD (Tourist Delivery) Invoice Mailed
TDINVR TD (Tourist Delivery) Issued Credit
TDONVS TD (Tourist Delivery) Vehicle on Vessel
TDRFND TD (Tourist Delivery) Refunded
TDRRCV TD (Tourist Delivery) Received Doc/Deposit
TDRTRN TD (Tourist Delivery) Customer Return Vehicle to Factory
TDSALE TD (Tourist Delivery) Retail Delivery - U.S. Vehicle
TDSDLR TD (Tourist Delivery) Shipped to Dealer
TOURST Tourist Delivery Order
TRNSFR Dealer Order/Inventory Transfer
WTYEXT Warranty Extension Information
XMTSMF Shipping Manifest Transmitted

[Thanks to Tina Todd email.gif (884 bytes) at Beverly Hills Porsche for much of the information in this section.]

3.4 Taking Delivery

When your dealer gets the car, it will take a day or so to check it over, detail it, and get it ready for you. Remember, before you drive off the lot, call your insurance company and insure the car. You might want to do this before you leave for the dealer.

You might want to tell your dealer to turn on the outside temperature display and program the door locks before you arrive to pick up the car.

Expect to spend up to two hours filling out paperwork. Then your salesperson will check off delivery of the following items:

  • Current authorized Porsche dealer directory
  • Maintenance booklet
  • Owner's manual
  • Plastic box for the radio faceplate
  • Portfolio (for the books to go in)
  • Radio instruction book
  • Radio security code
  • Roadside assistance booklet and temporary membership card
  • Three keys (two with remote or light)
  • Warranty booklet

Next, your salesperson will walk you through all of the features of your car. Make sure you know how to get the hardtop on and off the car if you ordered that feature.

Although you probably want to start driving, don't do it. Walk around the car and examine every square inch of the car. Are there any scratches on the car? Is there any rust on the wheel bolts? Any flaws in the interior? Is the leather perfect, with no nicks or misdyed areas? After you drive off the lot, you will have a hard time proving that you didn't put the scratch in the car. If there are any problems get the dealer to note them in writing.

Porsche requires dealers to deliver your car with a full tank of gas. The car should have between 25 and 45 miles on the odometer. Porsche takes all cars for a test drive of variable length. If it has more than 45 miles on the odometer, your dealer may have taken somebody for a test drive in your car. Valmet built cars will actually have a smaller number of miles on the odometer than Stuttgart builds, because conditions in Finland are less conducive to long test drives.

Consider waxing the car within the first 24 hours. This will force you to look at the entire surface of the car to find something that you missed at the dealer.

The owner's manual says not to exceed 4200 r.p.m. for the first 1000 miles (or 1000 kilometers if you're in a country that uses the metric system). However, the general consensus is:

  • Make sure you have oil and the engine is warmed up.
  • Keep the engine under load, but vary the engine speed.
  • Red-line is OK at any time during the break-in period.
  • Most people try to keep it under 4200 r.p.m.

Read the owner's manual! Then read it again!

3.5 Tourist Delivery

Porsche offers its customers the option (for a price) to pick-up their car at the Porsche factory in Zuffenhausen. It is an opportunity to see the place where "Porsches are born" and visit with others that are enjoying the experience of a new Porsche. The Tourist Delivery option (Option TD4) costs $1150 and includes the following:

  • Suggested Tourist Delivery vehicle prices are the same as domestic delivery prices. No discount.
  • PCNA will absorb the 2.5% Customs Duty and the Port Processing Fee.
  • A refundable VAT deposit ($6500 on a Boxster) is due at final payment time for the vehicle. The amount plus interest will be refunded when the vehicle arrives in the U.S.
  • The option price of $1150 includes:
    • The factory tour.
    • Two lavish dinners and drinks for two.
    • A bus trip to the restaurant on Friday night.
    • A bus ride to Zuffenhausen and Weissac where they serve a nice lunch.
    • The test track ride of a life-time.
  • The option price does not include:
    • The cost of staying at the Graf Zeppelin Hotel (about $350 a night).
    • Parking at the hotel.
    • Meals other than those mentioned above.
    • Travel expenses to Stuttgart.
  • The Tourist Delivery Car Order Form and a $1000 deposit must be submitted to PCNA at the time of order. PCNA will need to a copy of your passport when you order the option.
  • Tourist Delivery is available on new models after the initial announcement date in the U.S.
  • Two Grand Tours are schedules per calendar year, one in the Spring and one in the Fall.

The Grand Tour includes social activities, factory tour, lunch at the Porsche factory, and a trip around the Porsche test track with an engineer. It also covers insurance on the car while in Germany and the import fee. PAG provides two weeks of insurance for your Boxster while you are in Europe. If you are going to stay longer, PCNA will arrange for additional coverage. An extra two weeks costs $200, which is paid when the car is picked up.

Berkeley Johnson's web site, http://www.industryfigure.com/berkeley/Porsche/Germany/TouristDelivery.htm webout.gif (902 bytes), includes a good account of his experience with tourist delivery.