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From my limited car buying experience, the price you get the dealer down to depends mostly on what he paid for it (holding your negotiating skills as a constant). What the dealer paid mostly depends on how he acquired it.

If this car is "certified pre-owned" you probably can't get a great deal. If the dealer happened to sell this car when it was new and now has it back on the lot from the original owner (this means they probably did most/all of the service on the car) they most defiantly will let you know this fact. Again there will be a bit of premium because the car history is known and presumably clean.

If the dealer however got it at an auction, the salesman will tell you he's not exactly sure where they got the car but he will promise to look into it, and try to get you to forget you asked. Ask for a Carfax, you can get one yourself if they won't<>. You'll need the Vin # and about $20. Considering this car is 3.5 hrs away, you might want to just call and ask for the Vin # and do it before you go. The Carfax will let you know if the vehicle has been in an accident, been registered as a commercial vehicle (ie rental), has failed an emissions test (important here in CT), and how many times the title has changed hands. If the title was changed in a different state, you can probably assume it is an auction car.

Knowing the vehicle's history is important to first establish if you still want to buy it, and second to let you know if the dealer got it cheap (if it came from an auction, he probably got it cheap).

Good Luck,
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