Well i am not too sure how it is in the USA, but i ordered a customized BMW 3-series coupe from my local dealer, not long ago. I am still waiting for it to arrive.
First thing first is, u have to make up your mind and think about if you want the car long term, and have a unique and personalised car and also be prepared to wait a few months or like in my case half a yr!, or having one with similar mechanicals, but just another face on the road.
If you decide to get customised, first tell them what u want fitted and in wat trim.
Let them put down the total cost figure on paper, so its nice and easy to understand, and know which costs are for what options.
The total figure will be something astronomical, esspecially once they put all taxes, tarrifs, dealer delivery, duties, regestration costs etc.
From there, you go home have a look at them, and just add up the cost of the car and the options WITHOUT the taxes. Now that is the figure you should use to bargin with. But before you go and see your local dealer the next day, log on the net, and look and find all the BMW dealers near you, or if need be, of about 2-3 hour drive radius. and e-mail them your request.
I did the Exact same. howver, i should note that i am from australia.
Where i live, there is only one dealer that sells BMW's...so i had to contact dealers that are form interstae, namely sydney and surrounding towns.
I e-mailed a total of 10 BMW dealers. My e-mail was specific, and short.
I stated my name, location, what car i want and options want, and how i plan to pay for it. and then send it off, and leave a number for them to contact me. Make sure it is very direct and no beating around the bush. It shows that you are serious.
Of the 10 e-mails i sent, i got 5 replies, the next morninig, all of them dying to get my business. 3 of the actually called me, and were depserate for a sale, even though i was located 300km away. but wen ur forking out big bucks, you have to play nasty. I got a couple of quotes just like that. and many of them were only 1-2 grand short of the figure i added up from home, without the Taxes.
By this time, I got a call form my local dealer, enquirying if i am ready to do business. However i laid is straight, over the fone, stating that his too expensive and I have gotten tempting offers from interstate. I named a couple of dealer networks, to ensure him that i aint bullshitting, and that he has some stiff competition, if he wants to get my business.
He then quickly changed his attitude, and ordered me to come in the office for a chat with the manager. I went and tlaked, and they came down within a couple of hundred bucks seperating them and the others. And i could see it in their face, that they couldn't do any better, they said. "THIS IS THE BEST I CAN DO FOR YOU!, any lower i will lose money, and i am sorry"....you would expect them to say that, but he actually showed me the profit margins and the percentages and all..he opened the BIG FOLDER and showed it all to me. I then believed him.
However my local dealer was still a couple of hundred dollars short of the BEST deal. i told him, i would go home and think it over but he didn't want to let me go.
he explained, the reason some others may be able to do a marginally better deal, is because they may have lower overhead costs, and its a smaller firm. which is in some extent true. In the end, i ordered my bMW from my local dealer, naturally because, it would be sucha big hassle for me to go interstate for service or repairs or any claims i may encounter, and plus i had to factor in the excpetional service they gave me, i mean they let me test drive 4 different cars till i made up my mind which one i wanted, and then i test drove the car i wanted twice more after that, in order to make sure its the right one. All this time they were all happy for me to do that.
Sorry for this long ass reply mate, but i wanted to share my personal experience with you guys. In order to get the best deal dude, is give them someone to comepte against, or a price for them to match. first get sorted our WAT car u want...then talk about money.