This is very helpful. Thank you for the time you put into putting this together.For those of you new to ordering a Wrangler I have put together a guide of the process to help you understand what is happening. Note: this was updated fall of 2020 but I haven't had the time right now to keep up with any changes that may of occurred.
Update: it saddens me to say that I have sold my Rubi last week due to advancing age and arthritis. Only bright side is that I received $2,000 more then I paid for it new 3 years ago. If there is anyone that knows more of the updated details of the build process you can talk to the administrator for permission to include them. Thank you for all the great responses to the guide.
WRANGLER ORDER, BUILD, DELIVERY PROCESS GUIDE
A guide to how the order, build and delivery process works. There is not an exact process but this is a guide to how it generally works. This is for US orders. Most applies to Canadian orders. It varies for other countries. Some of this document is based on experience, some on research, some on assumption and some on inference.
A custom order requires you to work with an authorized Jeep dealership. Many of them are honest companies some are not so honest. All are franchises of FCA, not owned by FCA and only bound by the franchise agreement. Understand that FCA has limited control over dealer operations.
Dealers are compensated by FCA in various ways and it varies by dealer and region. Any factory incentives can vary by zip code. As you negotiate a proposed price for your order use caution when others advise you on what the final cost should be. Some markets do not offer large discounts while other markets may. And it can vary dealer by dealer in the same market.
Do research on what trim level and options you want to have and which ones would be nice before you talk with the dealer. Use Jeep.com to determine what is standard and what is optional for the different trim levels and what package interactions there are by building sample builds. Some options may require other options while some may exclude options you want. Use the current order guides in the Order, Pricing, Production, Tracking forum to see more details and what the Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) and the Factory Wholesale Price (FWP), also known as the invoice price, is for each trim and option. This is your starting point to negotiate.
Once you have a plan of what you want you can search for Wranglers sitting on local dealer lots to see what comes close. If you are sure you want to order one to meet your exact wants then start with the sales person. This guide is not a negotiating guide but what to expect from the process. At any particular time FCA may have some items on a hold or no order list, such as a particular engine, transmission or option. Dealers usually do not know when this hold will be lifted. Decide if it means you would rather wait until the hold is removed or if you are open to other choices.
Assuming you come to an agreement on a custom order and a price then you will want to get an order confirmation. Based on your state requirements it may be an actual contract with details of what happens under certain circumstances or it may be a list of options selected and an agreement on the price. This is not a binding contract. If FCA raises the price or incentives are no longer in effect when you get your order the dealer has a right to pass those costs on in the price. Usually you have to provide a deposit before the dealer will enter the order. Get a receipt for the deposit. Understand what the rules for the return of the deposit are before giving them the check.
Look for additional sources of free funding. FCA has affiliates that can get you a discount. They are associations, employers, etc. that support with a discount. Tread Lightly can get a 1% below invoice discount but you need to join at least a month before taking ownership to get the discount. Many of these are a discount below invoice and if you already have a quote lower some dealers will not take those additional discounts. Also, see if www.bonusdrive.com is providing a cash payment directly to you for buying select Jeep vehicles. There are a couple of requirements about what you are trading in or other vehicles you own plus you need to belong to an associated club or organization but Allstate may allow you to use them even if you do not have insurance from them. Lately it has been a $250 check for Wranglers.
Only certain staff can enter the order into the FCA database. Ask when it will be entered. Ask that they give you the Vehicle Order Number (VON) as soon as it is assigned, usually within one or two working days. Within five working days ask them for the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), this is the method of tracking the vehicle for the rest of its life. When the VIN is available then tell the dealer you want a copy of the Priced Order Confirmation (POC). This gives your name, date of order, VON, VIN, maybe an estimated ship date (more on that later), a status (more later), your trim and options with the MSRP and FWP. It may also have other data such as dealer holdback, Friends and Family Price (FFP) or similar, Employee Price (EP). This is an important document to have for future issues that may arise.
The dealer may show/give you a Configuration Preview sheet as you work through options and pricing. This is not the POC. You will see a Build Priority of 99 on it. On the POC you will see a Build Priority of 01 which means the order was submitted, the computer accepted it, there were no errors on the order and it is now in D status.
Now for the wait. It is in FCA/Jeep's hands now and you and the dealer have little control. Learn patience. Every Wrangler sold around the world is built at the North Assembly Plant in Toledo.
While in the build phase you can ask for status updates from your dealer or Jeep Chat (JC) at https://fcacommunity.force.com/Jeep/s/knowledge and click on Chat or Contact Us. Due to Canadian privacy laws Jeep Chat is not allowed to give info on orders from Canada. Jeep Canada Customer Service also does not have access to build data. Canadian order staus can only be obtained from the dealer and many of them do not seem to want to give out any info.
Timeliness of the status can vary greatly from reality and in detail. Sometimes you will be told by Jeep Chat that it is finishing the build the same day your dealer calls to say it arrived. I also suggest that you come to an agreement with your dealer to provide you status change updates. You are the customer and they have plenty of time sitting around between sales that they can look it up. Don't let them ignore you. Remember the estimated ship date you are given at this point is usually the estimated build date, when it will be planned for assembly.
Your order will usually be given a D status. See the list of build status sheet. This is the beginning status and means they are assuring parts are available and put into a general schedule. Don't get excited, you may be in this stage for days or weeks. Read the attached document about the Toledo North Assembly Plant Supply Chain process. It is a few years old but gives a very good description of the vendors involved and everything involved getting parts ready and how the build starts out.
See a listing of the main status codes below:
BX = good order available for scheduling
BB = fleet order only review by bid department
BD = special equipment processing
BE = edit error - coding error which must be corrected before order can be scheduled
BG = order has passes edit but cannot be scheduled regardless of sold status
F = finance hold - automatic cancellation after 15 days
B = model or option build out
L = material restriction
M = material hold (fleet)
ZA = canceled order
C = tentative schedule
D = firm schedule: serial number assigned
D1 = gateline: unit sequenced for production, est ship date assigned
E = framing
F = paint
G = trim
I = unit built, pending final inspection
J = vehicle passed final inspection but not released to carrier
JB = shipped to body vendor
JE = shipped to emissions
JJ = consigned to body vendor
JS = shipped to storage
KZ = released by plant and invoiced
KZ L = released but not shipped
KZ M = first rail departure
KZ N = first rail arrival
KZ O = delayed/received
KZ OA = plant hold, quality audit
KZ OB = zone, dealer, sales, vehicle prep, tax, diversion or derailment hold, dealer refusal, vehicle diverted
KZ OC = carrier delay, strike-bound, emission or safety hold, rail car shortage, bad or insufficient load, inclement weather, need shipping order, manifest error
KZ OD = mechanical failure, glass damage, vehicle in repair, lacking parts or storage hold
KZ OE = misdropped or misshipped vehicle
KZ OF = shipped air freight, stolen vehicle recovered, show vehicle, test info code, vessel sailed
KZ OG = damaged vehicle, stolen vehicle, abandon to carrier, vehicle scrapped, donate vehicle, repair and auction
KZ OH = all other type carrier codes
kZ R = vehicle within a few days of dealer
KZ T = second rail departure
KZ U = second rail arrival
KZ X = delivered to dealer
KZ Y1 = major damage must not be sold as new
KZ Y2 = major damage vehicle sold at auction
The next status is usually D1 which means it is at the gateline to be sequenced for production. This doesn't mean it is ready to build. Notices are sent to vendors that your order will be assembled and what is needed for the build. This could take several days to a couple of weeks. You can move back to D status for various reasons. This is called D1-to-D Regress. It means you are pulled out of the build sequence. This often happens for a status L, material hold. An example is when manual transmissions were recalled and the parts required to fix it were not available so all manual transmissions orders went back to D - L.
No one but a select few know how orders are moved from D1 to build. Some orders sit for months before being built. Others may be built within a couple of weeks of order. Your dealer does not know why, Jeep Chat does not know why, and anyone that does know isn't talking. They do not build them in batches, a 4 door white color can be in the line behind it a 2 door Hellayella then a 4 door Sky One Touch and so on.
Once your order does get approved, the chassis vendor assembles the frame, engine, suspension, transmission for your order on site while the body vendor is building your body. They are not done by Jeep but by vendors. Framing is status E. The body goes to paint, now done by Jeep, status F. The body, doors and hood are painted. These assemblies then travel to the FCA assembly building and are ready for trim, status G. There are some YouTube videos of parts of the JL build process you should view. Trim is the Jeep employees doing the rest of the build.
The Wrangler plant is usually working two ten hour shifts six days per week (recent talks between Jeep and UAW may change this to three eight hour shifts). In that time they can turn out 500 to 800 vehicles per day. An order can start a build and make through on the same day, take 3 days if it starts late on Friday and finishes on Monday or it can be pushed off to a siding area to be finished later. Don't know what causes this to happen but they have rows of waiting lines for storing them.
If it makes it through it goes to final inspection, status I. Here inspectors look to make sure major items are in place, no scratches or other defects, align headlights and suspension, lights are checked and it may go through a water test. Any issues found pulls it out for rework. There is no time estimate on this because it depends on what was found. If it makes it through inspection it is status J not ready for carrier. It may need to go to the body vendor, status JB, for select options to be installed. Depending on what is installed it can finish in one day or two weeks.
Once past this it will go to storage, JS, to wait for shipping or released by the plant to transport, KZ. When your order originally goes into the system the delivery location is known and the method of shipping is determined at that time. If within 250 mile up to 300 miles of the plant it is usually trucked to the dealer. Further than that it is shipped via railroad. Orders may be sequenced based on location grouping. They sit until there are enough going to the same area to fill a truck or railcar. There are various status codes for transport showing if it has been changed to another carrier, if some issue has occurred or that it made it to the dealer.
Again, patience is needed. You may be told that your order is in paint for three days in a row by Jeep Chat. I only assume they don't come out with six inches of paint but the status database used by JC has delays.
Register your order at the JL Window Sticker & Build Sheet Order Tracker click Track New Order once you have your VIN. It is a program written by a forum member that continuously queries the FCA database for a build sheet and a window sticker. When each is found it will send you an email and display a FOUND on the Crypto display. The FCA databases have a slight to significant delay entering the build and sticker status. Some arrive at the dealer before it shows on the database. Be accurate entering your VIN and order date. The build sheet is instigated when the order is ready to enter the assembly process but may not show as Found in the database until two or more days later. The window sticker (for US orders) shows Found after it has been completed and will probably be ready for transport. This may take one to several days. You can also manually query the FCA databases for the build sheet at https://www.jeep.com/webselfservice/BuildSheetServlet?vin= and add your VIN after the = sign. And the window sticker at https://www.jeep.com/hostd/windowsticker/getWindowStickerPdf.do?vin= and add your VIN after the = sign.
in Canada you can try this FCA website for the window sticker
and add your VIN after the = sign.
These databases are for historical reference and not a truly time accurate measure of status but more of a proxy.
A new set of patience is necessary. Jeep does not control this process. They also do not get timely info on the transit location at Jeep Chat. They often give two week windows and change that window frequently. Your dealer should have access to a transit logistics system such as Rubicon VLS (not the same as the Jeep Rubicon) that provides excellent detail especially if by rail. It shows when and where it was loaded in Toledo, the carrier and the ETA to drop. It also updates location, date and time every time the railcar passes an RFID reader with an updated ETA. If your dealer is reluctant to provide this information don't hesitate to push for it.
By truck they head towards a group of dealers for direct unload. By rail the train may go in a circuitous route picking up and dropping railcars, sitting on sidings, in railyards until it ultimately gets to the drop yard designated for your dealer. That's where a transport truck picks it up to bring it to the dealer. But, it can sit in the drop yard for days waiting for a transport/railroad employee to unload it from the railcar and and place it in the parking lot for whenever the transport truck arrives. This entire drop and load process can be done within one day or a week. Jeep can not affect this process, The dealer usually can't go pick it up or speed it up.
For Canadian orders the Cassens trucking company is the delivery company. They have a website at https://www.cassens.com/ that you can register to watch progress to the dealer. You will need the dealer's cooperation to register.
Some countries require Jeep to ship the vehicle knocked down and final assembly to be done in your country. Try to find from other Wrangler owners if there are problems with the assembly company as to quality control or missing parts.
PREPARE FOR DELIVERY
I recommend you try to download the pdf owner's manual from the Jeep owners website. They may require dealer paperwork completion first but if you have trouble getting it ask Jeep Chat or your dealer how you can get an electronic copy. A printed copy is available after delivery if you ask. And read it before your order arrives so you know what things are and how they work. So many of the forum questions are answered by reading the manual. It also gives you info about the vehicle break-in period so you know what to do and not to do before you drive it at 80 mph home from the dealer and cause excessive wear while everything settles in. You only get a small, getting started guide with the vehicle, not the 500+ page manual. Service Advisers say a large number of issues they get when the vehicle is brought in for a problem are explained in the manual and are normal or you didn't do something right.
Also look through the Delivery Checklist threads in the sticky part of the Ordering forum to know what you should do when it arrives and BEFORE you sign any paperwork accepting it. It has items that others have found to not be in place from the factory such as checking fuses are firmly seated. It gives an idea of parts that should be with the vehicle depending on what you ordered and may be stored in bags in the console, glove box or trunk. Identify missing items before you leave is important so it is documented and the dealer can order them for you. Especially check for scratches or blemishes before you leave. Once you are at home and find them the dealer may not repair them because they could of happened after you left.
Take it for a test drive before signing. Listen for unusual noises. If you have never driven a Wrangler it is going to have more noise than other vehicles but listen for clunking, engine/vehicle speed dependent noises, excessive wind noise. Check the steering. Again the Wrangler steers differently so determine if it is normal or not. Sometimes nuts, bolts, screws on suspension or steering aren't always fully tightened at the factory. Have the sales person go through the operation of the vehicle and set up SiriusXM for your free subscription if included in your order. The dealer has to start the subscription for you starting at the date of acceptance of the vehicle.
Add additional items/options to the checklist based on your order. Did you order the soft top window bag? Is it there? Door sills? Headliners? I would recommend you find out who is in charge of vehicle prep before your vehicle arrives and give them a copy of your checklist saying it is what you will use to inspect it when you pick it up. That way they hopefully make sure everything is done.
Also, make sure the sales manager is familiar with you and your vehicle by checking in with him at least a couple of times before it arrives. Ask how they ensure your ordered vehicle will not be sold to someone else before you pick it up ñ it happens. If they know you they are more likely to provide you some safe guards.
Now go drive it and have fun. And take a look at the paper window sticker. It should say "This vehicle was built especially for" and then your name.