'Fighting Chance' effective tool in negotiating new-car deals

General Motors' decision to partner with eBay in a test program in California to sell cars via the Internet may seem like a simple way to buy a car without entering a showroom.

But if you're not in the Golden State and still in the market for a new ride there are other ways to get a great deal without ever leaving the comfort of home or the office.

There are numerous Web sites that provide information about car buying and prices. Some, such as Edmunds, have been around for decades. Kelly Blue Book, AOL Autos and MSN Autos have similar information. As with Edmunds, you can choose a make and model, build it to your specifications, and learn both invoice -- what the dealer paid -- and sticker prices.

Though these free sites provide useful information and can act as primer when diving into the fretful world of new-car buying, their ability to negotiate price is negligible. After submitting a form with contact information requesting a quote from several dealers in your area, all you do is cross your fingers and hope for the best.