Shop around in advance. My sister requested quotes from dealers via fax in
1997 when she purchased a new car, and she did this with significant
success. Now, you could probably do this via internet. Don't be afraid
to check prices at dealers which are not close enough for you to drive to
in order to check prices. Realistically, you only need to go there to get
the car and take it home.
To give you a little perspective, the price range at my company is as
approx $10,000 -- 3dr GL 5 speed
approx $11,800 -- 4dr GL Auto.