best bet might be to talk to multiple dealerships. in my experience, some work on volume whereas others try to squeeze as much profit out of each vehicle as humanly possible. once you figure out which dealerships are willing to negotiate, you can often play them off one another until you get a price that you like. about 10 years ago i bought a nissan xterra and had three dealers literally tripping over each other to make the sale. funniest part was that they were all trying to sell me the exact same vehicle (same vin number), which was located on the lot of one of the three dealerships. the other two dealers didn't have the color i wanted on their own lots, but they did a good job driving the price down and helping me negotiate with the third dealer that did have the color.
not sure how well this strategy would work with a jeep. before buying my current jeep, i found one i wanted at a dealership about 200 miles away and the local dealership told me they could match that price PLUS charge me only $2,000 to ship it to me. WTF? and i've seen used jeeps with fancy bumpers for sale at used car lots for more than new jeeps. again, WTF?
The calling around thing can backfire on you. Dealers can "put you on a hummer" meaning they can let you hear what you want to hear without actually saying it.
More importantly, when you want to move forward with the deal, the two dealers that don't have the car will have to call the dealer that does to verify that it is on the lot still and not already in a working deal or a demo or something. As soon as that happens, the dealer that has the car and that knows you want it will figure this all out and hold their price.
A better approach would be to use the online "request a quote" system to get quotes form your 3 closest dealers. It will be in writing. Quotes will usually come from a dedicated "internet" or "fleet" salesperson and often be competitive on the first "pencil." It should not take much effort to get a good deal these days.
As far as transportation costs, what
says is believable but utter crap (from the dealer, not our friend boopiejones). Dealers (specifically the sales managers and anyone who "sits on the desk") usually have a list of 3-5 old retired guys that do nothing but run cars between dealers and auctions for cash in their spare time for like $50 to $100 or so plus expenses depending on distance etc.
Me? As an ex-car-biz-guy that had a California vehicle sales persons license, a California smog license, an ASE Master tech cert as well as a couple of factory master tech certs, I have a completely different approach to anything you have seen published. I march right into the sales office and ask for the sales manager then I get all Trey Gowdy on their asses. Once I find the actual sales manager and not a minion, I tell them that I am here "to buy a car" that "I know exactly what I want" and that "I do not want to speak to any salespeople." I also make it very clear that "you are my closest dealer" and that I am an ex car guy and that if I do not get what I want, I will go to the next closest dealer (probably a competitor) that will. I always start at the dealer closest to my home and then proceed to the one closest to my work and expand outward from there. I never have to go very far from home or work with this approach.
There are a shit ton of metrics on car sales that get fed back to the dealers. A dealer is going to know if you live in his/her zip code and bought a car outside of that zip code and what zip code you bought it in. IMHO, try to get the best deal from your closest dealer.
Dealers' hold back at the end of the fiscal sales year is also highly dependent on that survey (CSI) you get right after purchase so make sure to tell them that you will give them glowing reviews for a killer deal. At least bring it up because it *is* very important to the dealer and the sales manager even if the sales minion "green pea" has no clue.