Happy to share my buying experience here if Ira doesn't mind.
I became interested in the Focus after reading several reviews online, and my research led me to this site. I exchanged a few messages with Ira and, though I initially didn't expect to be purchasing through him, was impressed with the promptness of his replies and the straight answers I got from him. Moreover, I noticed that he treated nearly every inquiry with the same courtesy, even though the majority of posters probably don't end up buying from him.
My initial plan was to purchase through the USAA Car Buying Service. I had read somewhere else that I likely wouldn't be able to beat the price, and I didn't really want to spend hours trying to eke out the very best deal with my local dealers. A couple of test drives reinforced my reluctance to deal with them, as they were sort of your typical car lot sharks - eager to upsell and unwilling to talk numbers up front. On a whim I PM'ed Ira for a price and he responded back in less than 10 minutes with a price that was $500 under what I could have gotten through USAA. I didn't even bother with trying to counter-offer or anything, as the price was what I considered to be very fair (I was ready to pay the USAA price).
Dealing with an online salesman was obviously very low pressure (well, no pressure really). Ira was more than happy to factory order the vehicle to my exact specifications. I met with much resistance on this from local dealers, who were more interested in convincing me to buy from dealer stock, presumably to make me a "right now" customer. One of my concerns with buying online from a dealer in another state was that I might somehow get stuck paying extra delivery fess, thereby negating whatever price advantage there had been. But Ira arranged for the vehicle to be delivered directly from the factory to my local dealership in TX, with me just paying the regular destination charge. I'm not sure the exact details of this "courtesy delivery," but it cost me nothing.
Another thing that I really liked about going through Ira was that he readily offered "rebate protection." In other words, he assured that I would get the greater of whatever rebates were in effect at the time of order and the time of delivery. By contrast, my local dealers actually used the uncertainty of rebates as a tactic to try to convince me to purchase from inventory rather than factory order, as they claimed they couldn't guarantee rebates and incentives. As it was, my rebates at the time I ordered were penciled in at $1500, but went up to $2000 by the time I finalized the paperwork.
As far as time, the process was surprisingly quick. Many forum members told me to expect a wait of 8-12 weeks from order to delivery. I ended up placing my order on May 7th. On the 10th, Ira emailed me with a VIN and a build date of May 29th. I took delivery on June 8th, less than 5 weeks from the time of order. I can't say if that's typical or not, but I suspect that Ira's dealership sells a lot of cars and has plenty of allocations at any given time.
When it came time to finance, I was dead set on going through USAA. I was convinced that no dealer would be able to offer me a better rate. Ira asked if his finance department could try, and they ended up offering me a rate 0.25% lower than USAA, surprisingly. They overnighted all the paperwork, I signed and sent it back, and that was it.
Super easy buying experience, great price with no haggling needed, and a salesman that knows his product and is happy to work with enthusiast customers who know exactly what they want and don't want the "hard sell" experience. If you're shopping for a Focus, you owe it to yourself to at least PM him for a price - I personally wouldn't buy another Ford from anyone else.
Last edited by Bimmer-Bob; 06-25-2012 at 10:27 PM.