Matching original orders to new cars delivered reveals that fewer than one in three drivers ends up with his or her 'perfect' car, according to e-procurement specialist 1link.
Ken Trinder, head of consultancy services at 1link, said: 'When an order is placed on 1link, dealers have the option to offer cars from stock which are close matches to the one specified, but can be delivered more quickly.'
Individual driver preference determines whether they accept the offered car, with some prepared to take delivery of a three door instead of a five-door model, a second-choice colour, or even a different car altogether, rather than wait for a factory order to be processed, manufactured and delivered.
If waiting lists for factory orders are short, the majority of drivers prefer to wait for their ideal cars to be built, but the longer the waiting list the more ready they are to compromise. If you are looking at six months for a car, some drivers are happy to take an estate variant instead of a saloon,' said Trinder.
The skill of matching banks of cars built for stock to future orders differs from manufacturer to manufacturer, with colour a particular problem.
Drivers who don't want a silver car can wait for up to three to four months for a car in their first choice colour to be manufactured. At the top end of the market, however, company car drivers appear reluctant to compromise in any way on their dream car.
'Across the whole market there is a hardcore of buyers, perhaps 20%, who will wait for exactly the car they want no matter how long the timescale,' said Trinder. 'However, this proportion grows at the prestige end of the market where people want to personalise their cars to a greater extent.
'The majority of luxury coupe buyers will wait as long as it takes.'