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Note: original post by sfpegasus and TurboPaul

I know there have been several threads documenting the process but I thought I could condense the process a bit as well as document my journey waiting for my 2011 VW to arrive from Wolfsburg.

Because TurboPaul (on VWVortex) will be leaving VW for another brand soon due to local changes at his dealership, and because I wasn't sure how long his older threads would be preserved, I have decided to capture some key items regarding ordering a VW direct from the factory in Wolfsburg. Information on ship tracking is courtesy of SFPegasus (VWVortex).

Process for Ordering and Order Stages:

1. You agree on equipment and price with your dealer.

2. If your model has ordering open then the dealer will go ahead and enter the order into the VW system. Once the order is entered a Commission (Comm) Number is generated immediately. Get a hold of and save this number if you want to be able to get status updates on the vehicle. Available allocation is not required to place the order in the system but the order will sit in the system with status "I.S. Order Bank" until the dealer is assigned allocation for the model. Basically, IS Order Bank is a dealer wish list. If the order never receives allocation it will never get built.

Commnum VIN Status

885944 WVWBM7AJ3AW200396 Intransit From Factory

Order Entry 08/25/2009
Marked Sold Order 10/19/2009
Vehicle Assigned 10/12/2009

Release to Manuf. 10/01/2009 

Release for Production 10/08/2009

Factory Inspected 11/05/2009 

Ship Loaded 11/13/2009 

Port Arrived 12/10/2009 

Rel. to Carrier (Port) 12/21/2009 

Dealer Delivered Week of 01/04/2010
Next update 12.10.09

3. If the dealer has multiple orders for the same model they can assign priority ranking to the orders.

4. When allocation is received at the dealer, the order system will ask the dealer which orders he wants to send to the factory. Usually this is by priority ranking but the dealer is free to change this and send any order they want to the factory. (An example is if they have 4 orders waiting and only 2 allocation slots to use - they can pick which 2 orders to send to the factory.)

5. Once the order is sent to the factory it will update to FACTORY ORDER BANK. This basically means the vehicle will be built. Usually within a week a set of ETA dates is generated for the order providing a rough estimate to its arrival date.

6. One to three weeks later the order will update to PRODUCTION STOCK. The vehicle is now on the assembly line to be built! Vehicles usually remain on this status for 1-3 weeks.

7. Next the order updates to INTRANSIT FROM FACTORY. The car has been built and there should be a VIN number at this time. The car is heading towards the USA.

8. Once the vehicle is received at a US port the status will change to PORT STOCK.

9. Once the car has been cleared from port the status should change to INTRANSIT INLAND. The car is on a truck heading for the dealer.

10. Final status will be DEALER STOCK. The car is at your dealership!

Detailed Order Status

The ordering dealer can see a whole bunch of dates on the page that also contain the customer's private information. Since customer information is protected, only the SELLING DEALER can see detailed dates for an order marked as a "Sold Order." Below are the statuses, what they mean, and how they correspond to the Order Stages above that every dealer can see in the vehicle locator.

ORDER ENTRY - Date the selling dealer enters the order

MARKED SOLD ORDER - Date the order is officially made as a sold order. Some orders may have later sold dates if they start out as stock and are sold later.

VEHICLE ASSIGNED - Date the car is assigned to the dealer from VWoA. Some are assigned to dealers from a pool of already built vehicles.

RELEASE TO MANUF - This is when the order gets allocation assigned. The first step in the process and shows up as FACTORY ORDER BANK.

RELEASE FOR PRODUCTION - Vehicle now shows as PRODUCTION STOCK and is inline at the factory waiting to be built.

FACTORY INSPECTED - Date the car rolls off the production line. It also now shows as INTRANSIT FROM FACTORY.

DEPARTURE PORT ARRIVED - Date the vehicle arrives at Emden to be placed on a ship.

SHIP LOADED - Date the vehicle is placed on the ship.

PORT ARRIVED - Date of US Port arrival. SHows as PORT STOCK in vehicle locator system.

DEALER INVOICE - Date dealer is formally invoiced for the vehicle

PORT HOLD END - Some cars may get held at the port - this is the date they are scheduled to be released from the port.

REL TO CARRIER - Date the vehicle is released from the port to the trucking company for transport to the dealer.

RAIL LOAD - (Mostly for central states) - Cars are train shipped from a port to a central holding area (Chicago)? This is the date they are loaded onto the rail cars.

RAIL UNLOAD - Date vehicle arrives at the central holding area and is unloaded from the train.

TRUCK LOAD - Date the vehicle is loaded on a truck to be shipped to the dealer. Shows as INTRANSIT INLAND on vehicle locator.

DEALER DELIVERED - Date the car has arrived at your dealer!

Detailed Tracking Information

You will need the list of full ETA dates from the SELLING dealer. He is the only one that can provide this information. If you can't get the full list you will need the Comm # at a bare minimum.

Now head on over to http://www.pwl.de/8_2. The last schedule on this page should be VW Logistics. Click on that and view the PDF schedule. Save it to your hard drive for future reference as when the schedules are updated older copies are no longer available online.

VW Port Locations:

Blue Flags - US Ports
Maroon Flags - Outside US Ports
Steamer Ship - VW Home Port / Emden

VW uses the following ports according to the shipping schedule posted online:

Spain - Santander
Portugal - Setubal
US East - Davidsville, RI†
US East - Brunswick, GA†
US Gulf - Houston
Mexico - Veracruz
US West - San Diego
Taiwan - Keelung
Japan - Toyohashi

† it is not mentioned where the specific dividing line is for these ports. You'll have to check with your dealer to see where the final arrival port is scheduled.

Note: These ports are taken from the official VW Logistics PDF schedule so I am assuming they are the most current ports.

Find a ship that is due at your port around your "Port Arrived Date." If you did not get the full list of dates you will have to head over to the "Ask a VW Salesman" forum on VWVortex with your Comm # and they should be able to get you some information.

My dealer told me my port arrival would be at Houston on 4-29. From the schedule below you can see the only ship scheduled to arrive at Houston on 4-29 is the Queen Ace.

Example Ship Schedule

Write your ship name down somewhere. You will need it quite often throughout the process.

Do a Google search for your ship and cargo as shown below. Look for a link to marinetraffic.com and go there.

Google Search results for Queen Ace - Use the first link

The page for Queen Ace is http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/shipdetails.aspx?MMSI=355861000

Pay attention to the picture of your ship. If your ship is heading past Houston and over to San Diego you will need it to track it through the Panama Canal.

Detail Page for Queen Ace on marinetraffic.org

On your ship's page click on the latitude/longitude link and you will see the last position of your ship. The status may or may not change daily depending on the tracking data available. Not all areas of the wide open ocean have tracking available. Generally tracking is the best in the English Channel and the North Sea.

Example Tracking Map

Pay attention to the "Destination" shown on the ship information page while it is loading in Emden. They may stop in Bremerhaven to pick up BMWs and sometimes they make stops in England. You will be looking for a destination near your port eventually. In my case, looking at my schedule, my ship makes a stop in Brunswick GA so when it left Germany the destination was Brunswick. Once it left Brunswick it then updated to Houston.

For San Diego destinations you may see an intermediary stop of Lázaro Cárdenas (West Coast of Mexico) to pick up Jettas on the way.

Your ship may not be tracked for quite a few days due to lack of coverage in the open seas. The tracking antennas are only on shore and only have a limited range.

Useful Links

Bremerhaven Web Cam (BMW Port - some ships may stop over here) - http://www.blg.de/en/blg-logistics/service/webcams/webcam-automobile

Panama Canal Information - http://www.pancanal.com/eng/index.html

Everything you ever wanted to know about the Panama Canal. Great learning experience. Webcam links at the bottom. Gatun = Caribbean, Miraflores = Pacific. Be patient, technology is relatively new to the Canal.

KroozCams - http://www.youtube.com/user/KrooozCams

Compresses 24 hours of video from Panama Canal webcams into 8 minutes. Don't worry about dark hours as ships need to transverse the canal during daylight only for safety. Look for videos 2-3 days before and after your ship is supposed to pass through (Search/Sort by date) to find it. Pay attention to the Gatun Locks in the mornings and about 7 hours later it should be passing through the Miraflores locks.


San Diego Marine Information System - http://www.sdmis.org

All information about Port of San Diego including arrival schedules. Sadly the webcam has been taken down, probably due to DHS regulations.

Experimental Ship Tracking - Pacific Ocean - http://www.sccoos.org/data/ais/fullpage.php

Click on start stream. You need to know the ship's MMSI number from the Marine Traffic website. Click on the little ships for information.


Port of Houston Maritime Operations - http://www.portofhouston.com/maritime/maritime.html

Ships Currently In Port - http://info.poha.com/vtraffic/shipsinberth.html

Ships Scheduled to Arrive - http://info.poha.com/vtraffic/arrivals.html

No webcam that I could find.


No detailed information other than selling the port itself to shippers

Premium Member
23,902 Posts
Post stickied for now, I will probably add it to the buying guides later. TDIStevestr, since this is your post, feel free to take the lead on updating it! The first post in any thread can be indefinitely edited as needed. I have also edited the title to "official"

Note: original post by sfpegasus and TurboPaul

41 Posts
One more little tidbit I found in my obsessive rants detailed above:

Over at http://www.portofsd.com/vw_start.htm click on "VIN Status Search". If you know your dealer number, you can see the status of the cars at port. Your dealer number is often included in your ETA Report, if not, ask your dealer. It's also on the window stickers, so if your car is en-route and you don't know the dealer number, just go down to the lot and look at a window sticker.

To my knowledge, this only works for Port of San Diego Operations.

Premium Member
11 Posts
Wow, I ordered my 2010 Golf back in summer of 2009 from TurboPaul. Remember tracking mine and was as excited watching mine as I was watching a few others who had ordered theirs a la carte.

Wish we could still do that.

I'm thinking about the new Mk7 GTD if it is brought to the USA.

Thanks for saving this info.

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