In the hunt for ever more efficient production the motor industry has burdened itself with a forecast-based distribution system, which relies on high levels of finished vehicles in the market. Internal processes are misaligned to customer requirements, and despite the huge stocks many customers do not find the right vehicle they require. Discounts and promotions are used to clear excess stocks, further eroding profits. Whilst there is some recognition of this strategic failure, little actual improvements have been made. In this article, the authors report findings of the 3DayCar Programme, a UK-based research initiative aiming at developing a build-to-order framework within which customer orders could be built and delivered within minimal lead-times. The article will outline the main inhibitors to build-to-order and principles that need to be adopted in order to make it happen.