After speaking to the second dealer, I went in first thing the next day (Saturday, July 25), verified the car was on the lot, and asked the salesperson to put in a request to his manager for $800 off ($600 cash and $200 in accessories).
While writing it up, he started talking about how he was going to try his best to get the full discount from the manager. I made it clear I was not prepared to accept a reduction as it would bring the price down close to what I had in hand from the other dealer.
Also impressed upon him was the fact I had to leave in a few minutes to drive my 6-year-old to swimming lessons. Lastly, to reassure them on the credit front and to lower the monthly payments, I threw in a $3,000 down payment.
He went to see the manager. He came back in about three minutes and said, Congratulations! In his hand was the write-up, accepted without amendment (a big O.K. was scribbled in red across it).
Then, just like Royce says, I was ushered over to the business manager, who tried to interest me in the extended warranty and rust protection. I politely declined (Royce says they are high margin products best avoided).
A final note: there was the option of paying cash for the car but by taking 0% financing and leaving the cash in a high-interest account, income could be earned. At todays rates, that would total more than $300 over three years. Add this to the $800 discount and total savings were estimated at more than $1,100.
Maybe I could have done better. But due to other demands on my time, I didnt have a lot of time to spend researching and haggling back and forth. There are opportunity costs to consider in using up time (like foregone earnings or family time) and it felt like they were close to being equated with any further possible benefits in the margin.