QC Hold

What is a QC Hold and Why do Car Manufacturers Do Them?

If you have ever been waiting for a new car to release and been rebuffed by your dealer time and time again with little information, and a lot of attitude, chances are you are well aware of what a QC Hold is. At least in concept. Your car isn’t available yet, no there is no timeline on when it might be ready, sorry for the inconvenience.

There is very often very little information and that can leave you wondering what the heck you can expect during a QC Hold, and why car manufacturers do them in the first place. Thankfully, this article will cover everything you need to know about QC holds and how long they might last.

What Does QC Stand for?

QC is an acronym for quality control and it is a fundamental aspect of car manufacturing. Actually, it is a fundamental aspect of all manufacturing from pillows to canned food. Quality control is the process of ensuring that the item in question, in this case, a car, is of the correct quality throughout the entire manufacturing process.

When it comes to food, that might be checking for contaminants and ensuring each can of beans is filled to the correct level and sealed correctly. When it comes to cars, it’s a little more complicated. Every aspect of the car is controlled for quality from the stitching on the leather seats to the brake calipers.

What Is A QC Hold?

A QC hold is when the car manufacturer holds the release of a new line of vehicles to ensure that everything is up to scratch. Once the cars have been released for general sale, and dealerships start to purchase the stock of the new vehicle, it can be very expensive and potentially dangerous to try and issue a recall. Additionally, there may be issues so severe that people may end up in accidents leaving the manufacturer open to lawsuits.

Why Are QC Holds Important?

QC Holds are incredibly important to ensure that every vehicle is sent out in perfect condition. Or at least, near perfect in many cases. There have been many instances over the years where cars have had to be recalled due to unsatisfactory quality control.

A famous example of this is in 2016 when it was found that Volkswagen had falsified their diesel emissions test results in order to avoid proper quality control and save money by altering their vehicles, they were fined billions and had 11 million cars recalled from dealerships and owners to their manufacturing plants.

Are QC Holds Common?

QC holds are exceptionally common and aren’t something to be concerned about. As mentioned above, there have been some pretty severe cases of vehicles failing to adhere to their quality control standards and the results being catastrophic.

Therefore, it is becoming more and more common, especially in limited-release luxury vehicles, for them to overshoot their timeline slightly and spend a little longer crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s. You have to remember, that quality control is something that happens from day one when manufacturing a car and is not something applied just toward the deadline as a last-ditch effort to improve things.

If a vehicle line is put on QC hold it is a sign that the engineers are perfecting their product, not haphazardly rushing to hide a fault. Unless that manufacturer is Volkswagen then in which case, they may be trying to hide a fault after all.

Is The QC Hold Just For My Vehicle Or For The Entire Vehicle Line?

Ordinarily, when a vehicle is put on QC hold that is applied to the entire vehicle line. Often even ignoring international borders, etc. It isn’t just one factory having a rough time of it. That’s why if your dealership gives you vague nothing-like answers about when your vehicle will be available they are genuinely telling the truth.

They have no idea. It’s not often that their vehicle distribution center is having an issue, which could be circumnavigated, but all of them are. However – it is not unheard of for individual vehicles to be held back for quality assurance briefly just to make some final checks. It is not super common but it has been known to happen.

How Long Does A QC Hold Last?

There is no definitive time for the length of a quality control hold. However, it is normally a matter of weeks maybe months. It has been as long as six months in the past when there were major issues, see Volkswagen-type dramas, but that’s abnormal.

2-3 months is a good expectation. However, there really is no way of knowing. The car won’t be ready until it’s ready and the only person who knows when it’s ready is the last engineer to check out and conclude that there are no problems. Or that the vehicle is up to snuff.

Can I Get A Refund If I Pre-Ordered A Car And It Gets Put On QC Hold?

This will normally be stipulated within your receipt of the purchase and contract. Ordinarily, the answer would be no. While having your car get put on QC hold will be quite frustrating that is normally something that is outlined as a possibility within the contract.

After all, you don’t want them to deliver a sub-par product, do you? If having to wait a couple of months is something that you find unacceptable then you may be able to speak to your dealership and sort something out. Don’t hold your breath though.


Hopefully, you now feel well versed in the goings-on of quality control in the vehicle manufacturing industry and what QC holds are, and why QC holds exist. If you are simply curious, hopefully, this was enough to satisfy that thirst for knowledge.

If you were looking into QC holds because your car-to-be has been put on one, then sorry. It happens. There is nothing to be done. Just take heart of the fact that your car should come to you in mint condition with all the kinks already worked out.

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