I’m an “A” Plan brat myself. My dad’s been there for 34 years now! : ) I got my fully loaded 2001 Twilight Blue ZTS, not including Advance-Trac or moonroof (DAMN IT!!!) for $15,000 plus tax, tags, extended warranty and the Protection package costs. Came out to around mid-16,000. I don’t think I did too bad. That’s with very questionable credit and a 9.8% interest rate and no downpayment. My first BRAND NEW car. hahahaha I think I did alright, though I know I got screwed on the final cost. Oh yeah, I got a 3 year lease too. I got the 5 year/60,000 mile warranty.2001 ZX3, 5-speed. Power package, premium package, moonroof. Listed for $15,200 and bought it for $13,900. $12,900 after the rebate. I’ve owned it for a month, have 1,600 miles, averaging about 29 mpg, with no probs! Love my ZX3 Mine was about $16,700 and I didn’t have any money for a down payment. This was the S2 edition though which has the european tuned suspension, spoiler, and moonroof, it had the 6 disk in dash cd player also, but i took that out and put in my tv. I got my 2000 SE Sedan for $14,400. It had all options minus auto, ABS, side airbags, and leather. I really wanted the ABS and side airbags but wasn’t going to wait to have one special ordered – I had already been to 5 dealerships that day and was pretty exited to find one so close to what I wanted.
V, when dealing for the car, they are going to be playing tricks on you to make it seem like they can’t go any lower. When they say “I have to go check this out with my manager”, make it look like you are unconcerned and have all day – pull out your gameboy or palm pilot and start playing games. Make sure they know that you know what you are talking about, and that the car you are dealing for is a compromise, not the one car you have spent your whole life looking for. If the car has been on the lot for a while, then it’s taking up valueable space and they need to get rid of it. If it just got on the lot, then if they sell it right away the holdback they get from Ford is pure profit.
One other thing I found is that there is an airplane club up in Wisconsin or Minnesota or something that costs 20 or 30 bucks to join but members get X-Plan pricing from Ford. You may want to look into that.
EDIT – the place is http://www.eaa.org and membership is $40.00. X-Plan is A-Plan + 4%, which would work out to around $1500 off the Focus sticker price, plus you still qualify for discounts (like the new graduate discount you are now eligible for). The only thing is that if you finance or lease, you have to do it through Ford Credit (well, you could always get a loan from your bank and pay “cash” for the car).