Cash For Clunkers Kicks Off To Cheers and Jeers

Posted by: David Kiley on July 27, 2009

The Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save (CARS) program, otherwise known as “Cash for Clunkers” program, which pays consumers to junk old cars and buy new ones kicked off Monday to cheers and jeers from auto companies, dealers, environmentalists and consumers.

The program pays consumers $3,500 to $4,500 for an old car that gets below 18 mpg for a new one that gets at least two miles per gallon more. The details of the program, and what cars qualify for trade in and purchase were issued last Friday after months of negotiation in the House and Senate. The delay on the program, some analysts believe, has held perhaps a few hundred thousand would-be buyers out of the market while they waited to see what the final rules looked like.

The distribution of the 100-plus-page document Friday triggered a registration rush by dealers that overwhelmed the government’s computers, resulting in waits of two hours or more, the National Automobile Dealers Assn. reported.

Car buying site Edmunds.com said its traffic has been at record levels in recent weeks. Ford got ahead of the issuing of the rules by creating a micro-site linked to Ford.com that listed all the cars that qualified for trade-in, new Ford vehicles that qualified and what the total incentive would be when combining the government rebate with Ford’s.

Chrysler began advertising a program to offer the $4,500 for a new vehicle whether the trade in qualified or not. Smart USA advertised for the first time since it began selling cars in 2007, with a newspaper ad touting that buyers could get a Smart “fortwo” micro-car model for $99 per month when the government program factored in. Hyundai dealers have been advertising that company’s lowest price car, the Accent, as buyable for less than $9,000 including the CARS rebate. If you go to Hyundai’s website, you can see that the base price of the lowest price Accent, after taking advantage of the maximum “Clunker” rebate would actually be less than $6,000. Wow!

“I think it is a very good idea because it is targeted to actually making a major purchase, which will help the economy,” says Smart USA CEO David Schembri.

Not everyone is thrilled. Dana Barrows, an Ann Arbor, MI tax preparer, says she would like to trade in a 1998 Subaru Legacy with over 200,000 miles on it, and buy a Honda Fit. But the Subaru doesn’t qualify as a trade in, with a fuel economy rating of 23 mpg. She would get no CARS rebate despite the fact the Honda she wants has a fuel economy of 31 mpg. “But someone can get thousands for trading a pickup in as long as they buy a pickup that gets 2 mpg more? Where is the sense?”

The program is funded with $1 billion of taxpayer money, and runs until November or whenever the money runs out. Congress is expected to consider passing additional funding in the Fall, but perhaps with tighter rules that would incent consumers to buy vehicles with even greater fuel economy than than the current bill calls for.

“The federal incentive of up to $4,500, coupled with automaker rebates and the auto sales tax deduction, puts a new vehicle within reach for many American families,” said NADA Chairman John McEleney, a multi-franchise dealer from Iowa.

Edmunds.com, which is benefitting from all the extra site traffic generated by CARS nonetheless issued a report Monday saying that each car bought under the progream would actually cost the U.S. tax-payer $20,000 per vehicle sold, not the $3.500-$4,500 actually paid out.

Edmunds figures that CARS will only help drive about 50,000 incremental new car sales. How is this possible? Edmunds.com’s research shows that typically 200,000 vehicles worth less than $4,500 are traded in for new vehicles every three months. At best the current Cash for Clunkers program will fund 250,000 such transactions in the same time period—a gain of only 50,000 vehicles, says the company. Given that this program is budgeted to cost $1,000,000,000, this increase will come at the cost of $20,000 per extra sale.

Reader Comments

Mark

July 28, 2009 5:20 PM

After reading this article, I'm wondering if the Edmunds.com research, which suggests the government will spend $20,000 per extra sale, includes data from the past 6 months after car sales fell off a cliff, or if it is based on historical data.

j

July 28, 2009 5:22 PM

your tax dollars at work...im going to go buy a piece of junk car now and trade it in for $4k discount on a new ride, im sure no one else will think of this and take advantage....

Jeff

July 28, 2009 5:25 PM

I hate our government. Stupid politicians and lawyers. The U.S. is doomed unless you wake up.

kenton erwin

July 28, 2009 5:28 PM

Another lobbyist-driven, economically-senseless program that costs more than the resulting benefits. Look up corn ethanol, or sugar subsidies and import tariffs. It's the same sad story.

SgtMaj95

July 28, 2009 5:52 PM

Here is the real rub. The car you trade in has to be crushed so it has to be worth less than the $4500 they are going to give you for it. So if you have a car worth $4500 dollars (not much of a vehicle) you can get the $4500 govt coupon but the dealer will only give you what the junk dealer will give you for scrap. So you are never really going to get $4500 value out of the deal. If your clunker is worth $5,000 don't take the govt coupon or you loose. Personally I am tired of my tax dollars paying for somebody elses car. How stupid is that. I swear if there was one person in the house or senate that could improve their IQ 5 points they could be a rock.

SgtMaj95

July 28, 2009 5:52 PM

Here is the real rub. The car you trade in has to be crushed so it has to be worth less than the $4500 they are going to give you for it. So if you have a car worth $4500 dollars (not much of a vehicle) you can get the $4500 govt coupon but the dealer will only give you what the junk dealer will give you for scrap. So you are never really going to get $4500 value out of the deal. If your clunker is worth $5,000 don't take the govt coupon or you loose. Personally I am tired of my tax dollars paying for somebody elses car. How stupid is that. I swear if there was one person in the house or senate that could improve their IQ 5 points they could be a rock.

Paula Klee

July 28, 2009 5:53 PM

What happens to the Clunkers after the dealers get them? Do they crush them or just resell them back to pollute some more?

Pat

July 28, 2009 5:53 PM

I have the same problem as the lady with the Suburu. My 1996 car gets 24 mpg, but doesn't qualify. They should not have put a limit on it. It's not like 24 is that great anyway. The bill should have allowed anybody to qualify, as long as their new car got better mileage than the old car. That way it not only stimulates the economy with new car purchases, but makes sure all those new car purchases get better mileage than the previous car. But because the bill is worded the way it is, I will not be buying a new car (I was considering it until I found out I didn't qualify). I will be looking at used cars now, including some that don't get as good of mileage as mine. Totally the opposite of what the bill intended.

funny

July 28, 2009 5:53 PM

HAHAHAHA!

Bob

July 28, 2009 5:53 PM

Unfortunately I knew nothing about this program when I purchased my new car a month ago. So yet another government assistance program that I will not be able to make use of because they took too long to get it rolling and didn't make it well known enough. They should allow a bigger window for people that got a vehicle before it started, or simply allow someone to trade in their clunker directly.

J Tabor

July 28, 2009 5:54 PM

Sinse the government doesn't have any money of it's own, I assume the big "O" is using taxpayer money to put people in new cars.

Jo

July 28, 2009 5:58 PM

Actually, the program states that your new car must get at least 4 miles per gallon more than your "clunker". an old car can have at most 18mpg average, and a new one at least 22. 22-18=4.

Ryan Batty

July 28, 2009 6:09 PM

Cash For Clunkers is a scam - disguised as "responsible energy policy" - to use our tax dollars to help car companies and banks boost profits by selling new cars to people who probably can't afford and don't need one.

There is real risk this will do more to hurt the average consumer than help them. Cash For Clunkers fundamentally encourages people to go into (more) debt, even as job losses increase, credit card companies gouge their customers more than ever, and mortgages continue defaulting around the country.

If you can't afford a new car now, do you really want to add a new car loan payment to your existing debt? If you really need to replace your car, what's wrong with buying a reliable, 5-year-old Toyota? It will cost a lot less and serve your general transportation needs as well as any new car.

Cash For Clunkers will ensure that a reliable, used Toyota is harder to find, since the program requires dealers to demolish any cars traded in under this program.

Is your 10-year-old Subaru, that gets 23 miles to the gallon, really a "Clunker"? In this scheme, is any used car considered a "Clunker"?

Or is this just a way to shame consumers into thinking they need to drive a shiny new car to save the environment, while their money is funneled to the car companies and banks that are laying them off and raising their interest rates?

ME

July 28, 2009 6:38 PM

"your tax dollars at work...im going to go buy a piece of junk car now and trade it in for $4k discount on a new ride, im sure no one else will think of this and take advantage...."

You need to own and insure the car for 1 year+ to qualify - they've thought of that.

Jonathan

July 28, 2009 6:39 PM

Hey J,

Smart move, however you need to show that you've owned and insured the car for the last 365 days.

Your bait and switch fails. The government might be pretty stupid, but they're not 100% clueless. Most of the "stupidity" that we see is the result of the individuals in the government trying to profit their own selves (or their districts/state/etc).

Dave Kraus

July 28, 2009 6:40 PM

So how much energy is consumed in the production of an automobile?
Does Automobile production produce greenhouse or votes?

Anonymous

July 28, 2009 6:41 PM

What happens to the traded-in cars? do they get trashed, or do the dealers sell them and they go back into at low MPG? Can I go buy a junker for $1000 and trade it in for $3500?

TPJ

July 28, 2009 6:42 PM

J: Bad news for you buddy -- the clunker you trade in has to have been in your name for at least a year. Hope you read this before doing something stupid.

selchie

July 28, 2009 6:42 PM

Read the program details.--You WON'T be able to buy a junk car and trade it in for $4500.

Isn't it interesting that billions for the wealthy corporations is accepted without a bit of concern, however any tax, health insurance or trade in break for the average guy is ridiculed and called socialistic or fascist.

You're right, the US is doomed, but not for the reasons you myth driven extreme right wingnuts think.

bogart

July 28, 2009 6:43 PM

The whole damm program is so stupidly done (where have we heard that word before??)that I am at a loss for words to express my outrage at another poorly thought out Obama administration plan. Wait, this is not a plan it is merely a stupidly action.

Pat

July 28, 2009 6:49 PM

Sorry J. You can't just buy a clunker to trade in and qualify. You have to have had the car and show proof of insurance for 1 year in order to get the benefit.

Homerdogg

July 28, 2009 6:59 PM

And if you want to trade in your clunker for your kid's college car: forget it. The trade must be in the borrower's name for a year regardless if it's a family car that was used by the child forever. They lost my '91 F-250 (11 mpg) as a trade and it'll stay on the road for several more years. And, it's cheaper to buy $1000 more in gas for 4 years than it is to lose $4000 in value by driving a new car off the lot. Take that, Obama!

honestjohn

July 28, 2009 7:00 PM

A paltry $20K per vehicle to keep the unions happy . . . what a bargain! I can't wait for the great deals that will be in the health care package. Perhaps a government run clinic staffed with ACORN workers can perform my hemorrhoidectomy for half price.

Jason

July 28, 2009 7:11 PM

"The federal incentive of up to $4,500, puts a new vehicle within reach for many American families"...

except at my Chevy store we are seeing a way higher percentage of true-cash buyers for the "CARS" program than for non-"CARS" transactions, suggesting that most of these people did not need the extra money to buy a new car, but were eager to take advantage of the governments largesse.

Suzi

July 28, 2009 7:14 PM

Most of us are shut out anyway, which makes me think this is just a big political sham designed to glorify the current administration. I'd like to still drives great, doesn't smoke, but can't afford a new car) that according to THEIR evaluation has a 20 MPG rating instead of the required 18. I don't believe this car gets 20 MPG and I'm going to run a test, but it will probably be too late for me. I suggest you ask how many people driving a car as old as this one can benefit. Probably NO ONE. This deal is worthless to most of us. Just a big "bait and switch" publicity stunt to me.
http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/CarsList.jsp?year=1988&make=Pontiac&model=Bonneville&hiddenField=Findacar

Newt

July 28, 2009 7:15 PM

"...im going to go buy a piece of junk car now and trade it in for $4k discount on a new ride"

"J" you're a frigging genius. And here I was lamenting my 1998 Honda Accord's gas mileage...

But wait! Oh, yeah, right; I'm unemployed and have no income. No new car for me!

Yimagik

July 28, 2009 7:20 PM

Geez, I really wanted to use this 'cash for clunckers', but what I need is a Honda Fit, or something similar, but it costs 17k! With the incentivem,12,500. I still can't finance 12,500. I need something...5 - 7.5k.

Scott

July 28, 2009 7:21 PM

Cash for Clunkers is a clunker. The following statement is not quite accurate: "The program pays consumers $3,500 to $4,500 for an old car that gets below 18 mpg for a new one that gets at least two miles per gallon more." That 18 MPG threshold is based upon the average mileage rating of a car when it was brand new. Thus a 1985 Cutlass Supreme with 140K miles on it, blowing blue smoke and getting 9 MPG is ineligible for the program. It's a clunker in every sense of the word, but not according to this law.

Andy

July 28, 2009 7:23 PM

a few other restrictions are; it must have been insured and registered to you for at least a year. This prevents what and earlier poster said they were going to do, buy a crappy car and take it for a trade in. They do check all documents carefully. I did it and bought a Ford Fusion and gave them my crappy 92 S10

L

July 28, 2009 7:24 PM

Wow you're pretty smart J, except for the fact you must have owned the car for a year.

Angela

July 28, 2009 7:37 PM

In response to J, fortunately that is one valid point the legislation did think to address--you have to show proof of property tax payment and one year's worth of car insurance in order to qualify, so no running out to the junkyard to get yourself a suitable clunker allowed. Overall, however, I still think the program is virtually useless given the requirement that the trade-in can only get 18 mpg or less and the new car must only get as little as 2 mpg more than the trade. I would venture to say that most people driving around in bonafide "clunkers" are probably doing so out of economic necessity and won't be in the market for a car payment regardless of the $4500 rebate. Therefore it would seem that this bill ends up benefitting the upper middle class family that was already planning to trade their 2 year old Expedition in for a new gas guzzler anyway-we're just giving them an unnecessary bonus.

Scott

July 28, 2009 7:43 PM

It gets people to spend money, which is the point. The economy only gets better when people start spending so go ahead and buy your older clunker and trade it up. Your still helping.

More car sales, less job losses. Why the hell is everyone so negative about everything all the time?!

Paula Aeryn

July 28, 2009 7:44 PM

J wrote- "your tax dollars at work...im going to go buy a piece of junk car now and trade it in for $4k discount on a new ride, im sure no one else will think of this and take advantage"

If you read the rules, one must have had the trade in registered and insured for a period of a year prior to trading in.
Thanks for playing

Benjamin

July 28, 2009 7:46 PM

To J, Of course you already knew that you have to have owned the "clunker" for one year prior to the trade-in. I'm sure you didn't think about this.

J-not

July 28, 2009 7:50 PM

J - Read the rules, your scheme won't work: only cars that have been registered for a year or more are eligible. Looks like someone did think... about people like you trying to take advantage... and put in protections.. for our tax dollars at work.

Mike

July 28, 2009 8:03 PM

Since when "HAS" any politician/lawyer ever had their "HEAD" out of "A*" to think straight or common sense? You get the point. And don't forget our great Dumbcrats in congress. Hey they doing a better job than Republicans on spending what's left in your pocket. I am Independent, but I thought Republicans were stupid, but nobody beats the liberal Dumbcrats for crap like this. This just for Government Motors & union payback. F**K OBAMA????

Disgusting

July 28, 2009 8:15 PM

Screw you Washington. You do NOT have the authority to take our hard earned money to help others upgrade their damn cars!

This is just another unbelievable example of the inept and corrupt scumbags in DC destroying America. We don't have to worry about "Al Qaeda", we have to worry about "Al Congress".

dan Lee

July 28, 2009 8:17 PM

Sorry, J, but nobody's that stupid. You have to show proof of registration and insurance for at least a year prior to trading it.

A Arr

July 28, 2009 8:17 PM

J - in order to qualify, you have to prove the car has been continuously owned and insured by the person seeking to trade the car. THAT is what will prevent someone from buying a junker and turning around and trading it in. It's the government, but they're not TOTAL idiots.

Dan

July 28, 2009 8:18 PM

@ J - the vehicle needs to be registered and insured under your name for 1 year in order to qualify for the Gov't rebate.

B

July 28, 2009 8:18 PM

J- The car has to be registered in your name for at least a year to be eligible for the rebate

Brian

July 28, 2009 8:19 PM

J - You need to read the rules and inform yourself - You have to own and insure the automobile for more than 1-year to qualify. Now you can say sorry and thank you to the government.

Matt S

July 28, 2009 8:29 PM

In answer to J.

The program requires that one must have held title to the car for at least a year in order to trade it for the $3,500/$4,500 credit; this requirement explicitly addresses the scenario you propose.

The possibility is left open for fraudulently back-dating title transfer; between two individuals, the is quite straightforward, and almost impossible to detect, short of investigating bank accounts.

steve beatty

July 28, 2009 8:35 PM

i am not very good in math, where is the savings? three more miles per gallon & payments for how long on the new vechile ?

Mack Jones

July 28, 2009 8:43 PM

We have a 10 yr. old Durango, 140000 plus miles, 14 mpg. We just bought a 4 yr. old Toyota, less than 16000 miles, from an individual that averaged 42 mpg on our trip to Florida. Are we able to get the tax credit and what do we do with the Durango? I feel that this was a poorly thought out plan to help increase sales of the newly government owned (nationalized?) auto industry and not to really help the average guy who is looking for the best way to continue living within his means.

Jss

July 28, 2009 9:14 PM

The clunker must be registered in your name for at least one year prior to the programs inception.

K

July 28, 2009 9:14 PM

Um, J, that won't work, because one of the rules is that the clunker you turn in has to have been registered in your name and in use for a full year prior to the deal.

So you see, no one else WILL be able to use this and take advantage...

ryan

July 28, 2009 9:16 PM

You have to own the car for a year and be insured. So no one can go and buy a junk for for 300 dollars and get the gov. rebate.

John

July 28, 2009 9:19 PM

J,

You won't get away with it. The car you trade in has to be registered to the same owner for the pst year.

Boo

July 28, 2009 9:21 PM

Hey J, You cannot just go out and buy a junk car. That will not qualify. The car has to have been registered in your name for one year and continuosly insured for one year.

Jake Taylor

July 28, 2009 9:21 PM

Why not include those who DON'T have a car? Why not help them, with the subsidy, buy a new car? Now that would make sense.

Iknowhowtoreadunlikesome1

July 28, 2009 9:21 PM

To J:
"your tax dollars at work...im going to go buy a piece of junk car now and trade it in for $4k discount on a new ride, im sure no one else will think of this and take advantage...."

If you learn to read and do research before you open your mouth then you wouldn't look stupid. You need to own the vehicle for a year or so and need proof of it before you can enter the program. GTFO.

K

July 28, 2009 9:24 PM

J,
You won't qualify. Do your research.

K

martin

July 28, 2009 9:24 PM

Just think... the same socialist government wants you to jump in line for healthless care, and keep paying taxes so others can get in the lifeboat. What a joke. As if I could afford another payment. Oh wait, I could get a pay raise in a minimum wage job.... and buy a new home too. Backwards is wonderful in a politicians point of view.

Jon K

July 28, 2009 9:26 PM

And they pretend it's green. It's really the get a new pick-up or SUV program. Disgusting.

J's out of luck though. You have to own the car (I mean truck) for a year.

Steve

July 28, 2009 9:27 PM

J, if you had read anything regarding this program...you'd realize that you had to have owned the car for a year.

ROBERT LLEWELLYN

July 28, 2009 9:27 PM

I HAVE A 1993 CHEVY SILVERADO WITH A 454 GAS HOG THAT DOESN'T MEET THE STANDARDS BECAUSE THE TRUCK HAS TO HAVE A GVWR OF 10000 LBS OR LESS....MINE IS 13000 LBS........10000 OR LESS DOESN'T HAVE A 454 ENGINE!!!!!!!!! DAAAAAAAAA MAYBE THEY ARE WORKING ON A TOP SECRET PROGRAM TO BUY MINE BACK...........NOT

Lord Astral

July 28, 2009 9:28 PM

Yeah, I would have liked to have traded in my 1989 car. Unfortunately, the listed gas mileage for the car was for 19mpg.

That was new. The car as it is now certainly doesn't get that good a mileage, as 20 years of wear and tear has taken a toll on its fuel economy.

The government should have taken that into consideration. I would gladly have looked for a car that had a minimum gas mileage of 29mpg instead of 19mpg.

I also agree with the comment Mark left that historical data of a time before the current recession isn't a valid indicator of the program's potential success.

Dave

July 28, 2009 9:29 PM

This will put a huge dent in making our country less depended on oil....not! Could of used 4 billion in so may other ways other than getting someone to buy a car that he or she probably can not afford in the first place.

Gonealot

July 28, 2009 9:30 PM

I priced a new Ford Focus two weeks ago and got the "out the door" price. Today the SAME car at my ford dealers, with the fancy trade, in would cost me 386 bucks MORE. Now just who's getting ripped off here?

luke

July 28, 2009 9:32 PM

If we're going to shell out $4500, I'd at least like to see more than a 2mi/g imrovement... this money would be much better used towards simly subsidizing the purchase of fuel efficient cars. If you want people to stop driving their clunkers, raise the gas tax ("gasp! you can't raise taxes!") ...the money raised could be immediately returned to taxpayers in income tax rebates, making the tax revenue-neutral while providing an incentive to drive less and drive more fuel-efficient vehicles.

jon

July 28, 2009 9:32 PM

One must look at the big picture. Big car dealer lobby, big spending congress with someone else's taxes, and big stupidity.

Bob

July 28, 2009 9:32 PM

The rules state that you have to have owned the vehicle for at least one calendar year and had it insured that whole time. It also has to be drivable.

Yes they thought of that. After the purchase the cars are to be destroyed by fusing the engine. So they thought of that too.

I would second the protest on the rules though. Neither my '97 6V Camry or the old '91 Tracer that my mother is driving qualify. (which is crap)

paul

July 28, 2009 9:37 PM

truth be told... this is an ugly program. if the purpose is to get a bunch of gas guzzlers off the road, why make the minimum mpg 20? seems like it should be 28 or 30. and such a low minimum doesn't jibe with the fact that the dealer has to destroy the trade in car (thus taking it off the road). and i know people who said the same thing the guy above said. buy a an old f150, trade it in for 5 times it's worth, and boom... get a new car. financed by us. i dont think so. im currently in the market for a used car, and the people at dealerships ive asked about this have all had negative things to say. (granted, i live in ohio, which is a fairly red state... but i have doubts obama will take it again)

A Smith

July 28, 2009 9:39 PM

Good luck with that, J. The gov't thought of people like you. You have to have owned and insured the vehicle for the last year and it has to be drivable. Too bad.

This program is useful in that it's twofold. It serves to get the very worst of the inefficient cars off the road while boosting a badly hurt auto industry. I see nothing wrong with that.

E

July 28, 2009 9:40 PM

"J" says: "im going to go buy a piece of junk car now and trade it in"
This isn't an option, car must have been owned and insured continuously by same owner for the last year. Other rules apply, the car must run, must have less than a certain mileage on it.(140,000 I think but check that figure) and also must get less than 14 MPG.

I have a Ford truck (that runs like a champ but gets 12 mpg) that qualifies; I just hesitate to accept that if I do this, this particularly well-built F150 will get crushed as part of the bargain. Sad, because the truck is in great shape, reliable, no rust, nice ride, looks good. What a waste of raw material to crush it....can it not instead be converted to biodiesel? I sure do want a more gas sipping car. But is this the best fate for a car that passes emissions and can serve someone who has valid need to carry cargo?

Joe

July 28, 2009 9:44 PM

@ J
You can't just buy a cheap broken down clunker now and then turn around and trade it in using the C.A.R.S rebate. It has to be a car you own now and that has been insured for at least 1 year prior at the time of trade-in. Go to www.CARS.gov to read the rules of the program.

JJ

July 28, 2009 9:48 PM

You cannot just buy an old car for $500 and trade-in. The car has to be under your name for more than a year, or something like that.

E

July 28, 2009 9:57 PM

One good thing this will do, is to help local dealers make some sales and keep moving in this strange economy. I'd rather that dealers who employ my neighbors, whose staff lives and shops locally, get some incentive, than a failed car-building-empire that has been slow to respond to changing car design metrics.

Scott

July 28, 2009 10:13 PM

"your tax dollars at work...im going to go buy a piece of junk car now and trade it in for $4k discount on a new ride, im sure no one else will think of this and take advantage...."

The clunker has to have been registered and insured in YOUR name for the past year.

I was actually planning on taking advantage of this program until I found out that if you want to LEASE the new vehicle, it must be a 60 month lease.

I cant even commit to the same pair of underpants for that long. No thanks!!!

Joe

July 28, 2009 10:20 PM

Great program if you've got a junker and are in the market for a new vehicle. Took advantage of the program just today. '94 van worth just about nothing traded on a new Mini. If the gov't wants to give me money as they are about to pull more out of my pocket, I'll take it. As Obama does his best to wreck our economy further, I'm happy to put a little money in the pocket of a local business and the sales guy trying to make a living.

Susan

July 28, 2009 10:23 PM

I was at a VW dealership today (7/28) and was turned away. This VW dealer refused to make any more deals because he claims when the CARS program finally gets through the backlog, there won't be enough money in the program to cover all the deals already made. And according to the rules, if the money runs out, the $4500 becomes the responsibility of the consumer! He chose to stop making deals instead of having to deal with such a mess. Apparently, some dealers have been making deals since the 1st of the month! Thus, the backlog. And because of the backlog, CARS program has no idea how much money they have left so no idea when to stop it. So greed and deception rears it's ugly head again...greedy dealers, not following the rules and starting early, too many Cars taken in, regulations not in place and guess who will pay for the balance? That's right, the American Taxpayer. But the government will cover it, I'm sure, because they think there is an endless supply of taxpayer dollars. What a joke.

t

July 28, 2009 10:27 PM

J, you cannot do that, you have to have had the vehicle registered in your name for the last 12 months, and it has to have had insurance coverage for that same time in your name.

Jeff

July 28, 2009 10:29 PM

Before you run out and buy a "piece of junk car and trade it in" you should read the program rules- your trade in must have been registered by you for at least a year prior to trade in. Maybe government is not as dumb as you think!

Zoey

July 28, 2009 10:36 PM

Dealer & car manufacturer lobbyists at work... Plus mark-ups will equal $4500 = zero savings but get a few people on the lot. Money is going to the dealers, etc which maybe will keep their current crew but not spur any new hiring... Plus there already is a $1000-1500 payout in CA for retiring a car that doesn't pass SMOG; I was bummed that my car passed smog but got zero sales tax credit from Goodwill for donating it. They need to work on the tax credit incentives for retiring clunkers to charities; helps charities and the environment, and clearly better than more cars on the road and in land fills. Are these non- MPGer's getting resold or what? How about using the clunkers for affordable housing much like the junkyards of the Philippines? At this rate we are going to need it.

me

July 28, 2009 10:44 PM

J You have to have owned and insured the vehicle you are trading in for at least the last year.By the time you and everyone else has taken advantage(by buying a junker) the program will have been over for 9 months.

S

July 28, 2009 10:53 PM

You can't just buy it and trade it in... you have to have insurance in it for at least a year in order to qualify

Paul K

July 28, 2009 10:55 PM

For 50 years I've driven cars that get oveer 25 mpg, and currently own one that gets closer to 30mpg. How come there's no reward for long term responsible behavior. Instead the bad behavior gets to take advantage of their thoughtless decisions.

John

July 28, 2009 11:16 PM

Research the rules "J:"
You can not buy a junk car today
and "flip" it tomorrow for $4.5k
You need to own (with title) and insure it (proof of insurance) for 1 year to turn it in. I love comment boards on the internet: it's (80%) full of misinformation and raging loonies....

K

July 28, 2009 11:22 PM

Hey, J. In order to qualify you have to have owned the junk car for a year. Someone did think of this: whoever drafted the law.

Turtlepilot

July 28, 2009 11:28 PM

I hate you clowns that trade in vehicles every 3 years. I kept a truck 21 years, good for me and sucks for you. Maybe the little guy gets a break at expense right wing bottom dwellers.

jim watson

July 28, 2009 11:49 PM


First, lets not forget the cost of disposing of the clunkers.

Second, this discriminates against the working poor who never buy new vehicles (and they drive the REAL clunkers.)

A program to help them sell their 1985 car and get a year 2000 car would create demand for the new car buyer's trade ins.

It would also do more for gas mileage improvement and air quality than the proposed program.

If "never have, never will buy a used car" constitutes a class of people, is this program "Equal Protection Under The Law ???

Regards,
Jim

Gumby

July 29, 2009 1:56 AM

Our government is not a bunch of stupid politicians and lawyers. YOU WHO BOUGHT SUVS AND PICKUPS ARE!!!!!! They know better than to tell you what to buy. The least they can do is to set examples . Most of you are not paying any attention until they had to do something about the oil shortage and $145 oil barrels. You know how to figure things out YOURSELVES. There is plenty of information available on the Internet for you to gather and make judgemental decisions for yourselves. What the politicians are trying to do is simply because you are not making smart decisions by yourselves. We live in a free country, so what? Our founding fathers never heard of oil back then. They had no idea that we would discover oil and eventually are running out of oil.. They wrote the Constitution and Bill of Rights and basically crossed their fingers that you will make the best out of that great laws ever conceived in the history of mankind... Politicians or no politiicians,, YOU ARE STILL DUMB !@!!

gUMBY

July 29, 2009 1:58 AM

Our government is not a bunch of stupid politicians and lawyers. YOU WHO BOUGHT SUVS AND PICKUPS ARE!!!!!! They know better than to tell you what to buy. The least they can do is to set examples . Most of you are not paying any attention until they had to do something about the oil shortage and $145 oil barrels. You know how to figure things out YOURSELVES. There is plenty of information available on the Internet for you to gather and make judgemental decisions for yourselves. What the politicians are trying to do is simply because you are not making smart decisions by yourselves. We live in a free country, so what? Our founding fathers never heard of oil back then. They had no idea that we would discover oil and eventually are running out of oil.. They wrote the Constitution and Bill of Rights and basically crossed their fingers that you will make the best out of that great laws ever conceived in the history of mankind... Politicians or no politiicians,, YOU ARE STILL DUMB !@!!

YaWaNLong

July 29, 2009 10:25 AM

I think your also supposed to own the car for a certain number of years, so you can't just buy an old one to get a rebate of yet another one.

Eric

July 29, 2009 11:38 AM

I'm SO SICK of hearing the ads and news reports on this - and it's only just started!

But I do have one question:
DOES THE CASH FOR CLUNKERS APPLY TO POLITICIANS?

If so... you owe America a LOTTA MONEY!

w

July 29, 2009 6:31 PM

*Scratchin my head* Wondering who is acting more "stupidly", J or the people that continue to correct him.

John, TX

July 29, 2009 6:35 PM

I think everyone is confused. The vehicle being traded in is not the clunker. It's the detroit hunk of scrap that your dealer has been sitting on since 2008 that is the clunker. After buying a stake in GM and Chrysler, congress figures they need muddy the water a bit more and take money from one wallet and place it in another wallet, and it is not yours.

Justin J

July 30, 2009 9:43 AM

It would be much better to base a new bill on percent increase of mpg or increase in gallons per 1000 miles. Since going from 10 mpg to 20 mpg saves 50 gallons of gasoline every 1000 miles, while increasing from 20 mpg to 30 mpg only saves 17.6 gallons every 1000 miles.

karenc

July 30, 2009 10:23 AM

If you are one of the many who don't qualify for a voucher, you can get a tax deduction instead if you donate car to charity. Your car does not have to run. Details at http://www.cars4charities.org.

Disgusted

July 30, 2009 10:47 AM

Ryan Batty is the only one who was correct. The program is disgusting for a number of reasons.
1) How does additional consumer debt bring the average consumer in a better financial position...in other words won't this just hamper any recovery?
2) Why are we rewarding prior guzzler purchases with taxpayer dollars? Give the reward to the guy that bought a Civic. In other words, if the government wants to create incentives, why isn't it being predicated upon the reward for positive behavior or better yet the penalty (higher gas taxes) for negative behavior. Nope.. our brilliant government rewards negative behavior.
3) Why does car sales get all of this special treatment? Why not encourage people to work, employ others and develop technology and create new ideas. Nope...our government is just as wrapped up in the constant consumption cycle as the average moronic consumer.
4) What about the impoverished taxpayer who (in these tough times) would be happy just to keep the old clunk running? Maybe he would rather pay his mortgage or maintain his health insurance. So does this guy miss out on the new shiny car because he chose to be responsible?
5) If America is no longer the Automotive super power(like Japan is), then why are we thrusting our support toward maintaining that industry? Where's the transportation alternatives being developed....bullet trains, etc.

I am disgusted....and sadly I expected better.

Mike

July 30, 2009 8:21 PM

To DISGUSTED:

1) Our economy is based on consumer spending. When people purchase big ticket items, all the little people who help make or sell them or fix them get to keep working. That means they get to spend their money too. We have all learned what happens when people stop spending, it's called a crappy recession.

2) The program was designed to get rid of older, fuel inefficient vehicles not Honda Civics. Besides, if we're talking about the US economy, I don't see how buying foreign cars is positive behavior to be rewarded. I'm not saying people can't buy foreign, in fact, I just did. But I don't think I should be rewarded for it. Get these old clunkers off the road AND help get the economy going.

3) Car sales get special treatment? You mean like Wall Street and all the investment banks? It's not even close. It's about time the government actually do something to boost the economy rather than just hand money over to Wall Street for big bonuses. This program helps the little people, the people who need a new car badly. My neighbor bought a new car for under $9000 with this program and the rebates he got. His payment is like $250 or something. I think he can swing that.

4) That old clunker is polluting the environment and in a lot of cases, wasting a lot of fuel. That impoverished tax payer is not forced to trade it in. You can't take advantage of EVERY program the government does. Sit this one out if you want. For those who really needed a new car, what an opportunity.

5) I agree we need more money spent alternative fuels, transportation, etc. Why help car companies? Because 20% of the American workforce is connected to the auto industry in some form. Everyone just thinks about factory workers. But what about salesman, accountants at dealerships, service & body repair shops, part suppliers, steel companies, trucking companies, glass companies? Without a strong auto industry, how do 2-4 million people buy groceries, support their schools, go to a doctor? You'd be hard pressed to find any other industry that employs more people one way or another than the US Auto Industry.

And yes, I work at a dealership. And I'm glad the government finally did something to a) help people b) do something that wasn't a straight hand-out to companies.

Mike Richardson

July 30, 2009 8:37 PM

To DISGUSTED:

1) Our economy is based on consumer spending. When people purchase big ticket items, all the little people who help make or sell them or fix them get to keep working. That means they get to spend their money too. We have all learned what happens when people stop spending, it's called a crappy recession.

2) The program was designed to get rid of older, fuel inefficient vehicles not Honda Civics. Besides, if we're talking about the US economy, I don't see how buying foreign cars is positive behavior to be rewarded. I'm not saying people can't buy foreign, in fact, I just did. But I don't think I should be rewarded for it. Get these old clunkers off the road AND help get the economy going.

3) Car sales get special treatment? You mean like Wall Street and all the investment banks? It's not even close. It's about time the government actually do something to boost the economy rather than just hand money over to Wall Street for big bonuses. This program helps the little people, the people who need a new car badly. My neighbor bought a new car for under $9000 with this program and the rebates he got. His payment is like $250 or something. I think he can swing that.

4) That old clunker is polluting the environment and in a lot of cases, wasting a lot of fuel. That impoverished tax payer is not forced to trade it in. You can't take advantage of EVERY program the government does. Sit this one out if you want. For those who really needed a new car, what an opportunity.

5) I agree we need more money spent alternative fuels, transportation, etc. Why help car companies? Because 20% of the American workforce is connected to the auto industry in some form. Everyone just thinks about factory workers. But what about salesman, accountants at dealerships, service & body repair shops, part suppliers, steel companies, trucking companies, glass companies? Without a strong auto industry, how do 2-4 million people buy groceries, support their schools, go to a doctor? You'd be hard pressed to find any other industry that employs more people one way or another than the US Auto Industry.

And yes, I work at a dealership. And I'm glad the government finally did something to a) help people b) do something that wasn't a straight hand-out to companies.

Mark T

July 30, 2009 10:31 PM

heres my thing. I have a crappy 1992 lumina that does not get more than 5 mpg but the only way to qualify for the rebate is based on the EPA standards of which is above 18mpg. This legislation is some unrealistic crap intended to help the economy and stimulating spending but I can only imagine how few cars actually qualify. i am saying this as a family who definitely needs a new reliable vehicle. What nonsense. This is government at their best. Making unrealistic legislation most Americans cant even live with. then I find out five minutes ago, they have already went over budget with it. WOW! I should not be surprised.

Stupid Program

July 30, 2009 11:10 PM

This program is completely senseless and unfair. The program is not stringent and it rewards those who were irresponsible in the first place. Another wastage of tax dollars.

It should have been any car as long as the car that is purchased gives 10 to 15 mpg better and a hybrid (this way we have more hybrids which should drive down the cost of production due to volume) the one you own and is at least 10 years old.

Maybe the criteria for SUV/Trucks would be different.

Ohio Resident

July 30, 2009 11:46 PM

Right now you can get $3500 - $4500 for a qualifying car/truck, plus if you buy the right vehicle could get a 4000 - 4500 rebate from the manufacturer. The average saving is 8-10k dollars.
This is a scam !! I know it sounds good, however prior to the cash for clunkers program you could easily purchased a vehicle for 80-10k below sticker price. My wife and I just purchased a brand new '09 dodge journey about 4 months ago that had an msrp of around 27k dollars, we walked out of the dealership paying 21k, that includes tax, title, docking fee's and all. I had looked for new dodge journeys or for a pickup for several months prior to purchasing and found the same prices, 8-10k dollars off msrp. Dealerships were even advertising it. The way it use to work was.... The manufacturer offered around 4k dollars off in a rebate or incentive program and the dealership could discount the vehicle around 4k dollars, plus you would get around 1k dollars for a owner loyalty program and if you purchased around the end of the month, a dealer would usually dip into his dealerships hold back $$ and you could get another 500-1k off.
Dealerships stopped discounting, they are just giving the manufacturers rebate + cash fro clunkers money. Now this program is suppose to help the American people ??, how ?? I would say most people who couldn't afford to purchase a new vehicle prior to this, still cant afford it. Are you really getting 3500-4000 for that old vehicle? No, you could have purchased a new vehicle and kept your clunker prior to the cash for clunkers program, and still saved the same amount of money.
And this part really gets me fired up!! Well all of those old vehicles being traded in under the cash for clunkers are being destroyed as far as I understand, so for those Americans that can not afford a newer vehicle, guess what.. Your slowly being forced to purchase a new vehicle because our brilliant government is going to destroy a large number of still decent used vehicles. How does this help the small used car dealers? How does this help poor working class Americans?
Does everyone remember what Toyota did not long ago? There was a mass recall on Toyota pickups for a frame rust problem. They recalled practically every late model Toyota pickup, and gave 1.5% Kelly blue book "good" value to the owner. All of they recalled trucks were crushed and sent back to Japan or China for scrap steel, and FYI China has a overwhelming need for steel. Scrap steel is at a basically all time high in value due to China's need for steel. This created a need for Toyota owners to purchase a new Toyota pickup, however to be fair, the truck owners were not required to purchase another Toyota. But as a loyal owner, most probably did buy Toyota because they felt they were being treated good.
I don't know for sure, but if the cash for clunkers are being destroyed and China who the USA owes a lot of money to needs steel, well it doesn't take much to add 2+2!!

Wait a few months until its over and buy at the same price they are advertising now, keep your old vehicle or sell it to someone in need cheap !

Pamela

July 31, 2009 2:02 AM

Vote here to get the Cars For Clunkers Program reinstated! www.tinyurl.com/clunkersvote

60th Street

July 31, 2009 9:38 AM

I am amazed at how stupid people are. This program was a HUGE success! they ran out of money in a week! A billion dollars! This means 222,222 or more new cars were sold and at least that many polluting drive trains were destroyed!

Now, for the stupid people posting here:

1. NO, you can't scam it and buy a cheap junker and trade it in for $4500.

2. NO, dealers can't resell the car. The engines and drive trains are destroyed.

3. NO, this doesn't force anyone with an old clunker to buy a new car. That's STUPID! It is completely voluntary.

READ THE BILL!! AT LEAST FOLLOW THE LINKS IN THE ARTICLE!! before you open your stupid, STUPID yaps!

Ahhhh....I feel better now :)

To Do List: Daily rant for stupid people. Check!

Disgusted

July 31, 2009 11:07 AM

TO Mike Richardson:

I disagree.

Car Dealers, Investment Banks, Mortgage Companies, Homeowners. No one should be bailed out from the problems they brought on themselves.

Think of the irony here. Give the buyer a gift toward their car purchase. Then tax laws allow an 8,000 gift to the homeowner. If they can't make payments on the loan, the tax on the excess and unpaid borrowings is excluded from income (again on the back of other taxpayers). Then taxpayers bailout the bank who lent the money and the auto company who made the car.
Why be responsible at all?
I remember when Grumman (a large employer in our area) went under. It probably took half of the region with it. However, individual responsibility led the regions workers to obtain new skills sets or to transfer existing skill sets to other careers. They didn't try to stop the market or to influence it...and they didn't beg for a handout They went with it.

Indirectly,through this program, I am subsidizing your job as well as the jobs of thousands of bankers and mortgage lenders who would otherwise actually have to weather the down times. Out of curiousity, now that I'm bailing you out, when you were in your heyday (good times) did you offer to share any of your bonus with me?

Ultimately, your job and your career are your responsibility. Your argument that ..."they got a bailout why can't I" only adds to the problem.

John Penn

July 31, 2009 11:39 AM

How can the Cash for Clunker Program be out of money??? With $ 1 Billion in funds we would have had to sell over 200,000 cars...and that has not happened.

And how does this get passed when so many people could make use of good inexpensive vehicles...not like 2 mpg's is going to save the planet.

How does this get passed without common folk having a say in where there $$$ go.

John Penn

Disgusted

July 31, 2009 11:44 AM

TO Mike Richardson,

Not to belabor the point. But your initial analysis was also incorrect.

In your mind, the economy is based upon consumption. But you need to look beyond the showroom floor.

A true economy, a profitable economy, is not based upon consumption. Its based upon PRODUCTION. And don't tell me that there we need consumption to fuel production! I mean that we need to engineer and produce goods for the world. Instead, the incentives should have been toward production, innovation, technology and engineering.

I don't mean to sound adversarial but it appears we view things differently.
Best of luck with the clunker program.

life in a credit card nation

August 3, 2009 12:06 PM

I just think it is incredibly wasteful to trash cars that could still be viable transportation for someone else. Our clunkers are reliable transportation compared to what many people in poorer countries are driving. Once again, we are poor stewards of our resources.

Amy

August 7, 2009 11:13 AM

To Mike Richardson,

Thank Goodness someone has a brain on here.

Thanks for saying it like it is.

So nice to see the news reports with people being hired in the steel plants, and auto industry. Machine shop are starting to recieve jobs due to this program.

This inititive is provided to help the midwest. Unlike the bailout programs to help the rich easterners! Finally!

jhenry

August 10, 2009 4:15 AM

Yes, Your vehicle must be less than 25 years old on the trade-in date

Jhenry
Blogger
www.cashforclunkersfacts.info
http://www.cashforclunkersfacts.info

bedrock

August 13, 2009 7:40 AM

in end of may got price for new chevy truck price $26834. cashfor clunkers came along that same truck is now $31334. what happened $4500. differance cluncker money added to truck whos gaining???????????

will

August 14, 2009 6:46 PM

Not all clunkers will be crushed some will just keep on rollin' in the third world!

Nick

August 16, 2009 2:23 AM

Bedrock, I find what you said EXTREMELY hard to believe and to be a load of crap.

I agree with Mike as well as Disgusted (on your 7/31 11:07 post not the 11:44 post [why help produce if its not going to sell? seems very illogical]) I believe the goal was not to cover many basis, stimulate the auto sales, rid of vehicles that put out a lot of smog and are fuel inefficient, and while it isnt going to make us independent of oil, the influx of civics and focuses I have see on the road surely make fewer trips to the gas station than all the 90s era explorers/f-150s that have been traded in.

but in a country such as America surely not everyone will be happy about every bill, not every 1 out of 300 million + will be happy, but I believe the pros definately outweight the cons on this one.


RE: the 7/30 10:47 post, if this taxpayer is impoverished and jus happy to keep his clunker running how do you suggest he get this "new shiny car?" it be givin to him? He is just not in a position to buy one at the moment.

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