I've been shopping and using Edmund's TMV attempting to get a good deal on a vehicle. I've used the TMV as a starting point for me and then bring the dealer's price down from TMV. I contacted dealerships through the internet and over the phone. They laughed, were upset, or simply didn't reply. Lowballing them makes them think you're not serious and it doesn't create much goodwill.
I believe the TMV is significantly lower because the HHR currently has a manufacturer to dealer incentive which brings the reported purchase price down. While talking to the dealership I'm working with, I discovered I am taxed for the price that includes the manurfacturer to dealer incentives since it is not a rebate on a purchased product like the loyalty rebate I will be receiving or my GM Card rewards.
At this point, many of the dealerships are trying to sell the car to add volume to their numbers so they can get spiffs from GM. Like a previous posting stated, they haven't been selling like well until the past few weeks. They've been selling through them because of the gas prices and incentives.
The deal I have in the works is:
(invoice price - manufacturer to dealer incentive) - dealer holdback - advertising fees - loyalty rewards = the final cost to me not including taxes, IL doc fees, and financing. It's not a GREAT deal but it's a good deal. They need to stay in business and I need a decent car.
Tomorrow, I'm finalizing the deal because they have to do a dealer trade since they have to do a dealer trade and I was stupid enough not to get it all in writing.
On a better day, I would have spent a bit more time trying to get more accessories and try to figure out if there was more money somewhere. For example, dealers take a loan out at banks or with GM to purchase the cars on their lot. The longer it sits there, the less opportunity to make money. You might make a case for them to sell it for lower so they can save on a small amount of interest. Again, I wasn't able to use this in negotiations because the vehicle is not on the lot.
Also, think about where you're getting your financing if you're not paying cash. You can save a lot of money shopping around for money. My family got a rate of 2.70% at our credit union which is about .5% lower than the big banks and vibes with my view of not supporting 'banks too big to fail.' You can negotiate the financing with the F&I person because they make money there too. He or she might reduce your rate another .5% to 2%. My mom did this on her Honda CR-V.
I hope this helps. Good luck!