1. Pick the exact make and model of car you want.
2. Call around first anonymously (such as calling from work on your lunch hour), and get prices. Tell them you are calling everybody, and the best deal wins. Write down the prices you are given, and note any difference in packages.
3. Pick the dealership you think you want to do business with based on the results of this phone call. Price should not be the decider -- demeanor and gut feel should be....
4. Go to the dealership you absolutely NEVER want to do business with. Nail down the details on the options -- go for "loaded," then whittle it down to find the approximate prices for each option. Make a detailed list with prices. Mark the options you must have and those can do without.
5. Do your research online and compare your pricing research with others and experts. Set an "ideal price" and an "I can live with it" price for the car you want with all the options you want, and again for the car you want with the minimum options you want. You now have a low and high figure for the car.
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