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Cash For Clunkers Need Not Come To An End

Posted by: David Kiley on August 24, 2009

As the Cash For Clunkers program comes to an end tonight, I heard a pretty good idea mentioned for some automaker to take advantage of in the coming days and months: continue the program without the government’s help.

Huh? Sure. If I was an automaker, and saw how well people responded, I might just adjust my overall incentive program so that I could give customers trading in a clunker at least $500 extra, or maybe even $1,000 on top of existing incentives if the buyer trades up in fuel economy.

Say some Ford owners continue to come out of the woodwork this year with 1993-94-95 Ford Explorers. My idea is to take the trade in value, give the buyer the typical $1,500 on the Fusion, he or she wants, and then bump him or her another $500, $750 or $1,000 if the vehicle they are buying is five to ten mpg more fuel efficient.

The company that jumps on that idea will get the benefit of being the first one in the pool to be able to run an ad that says “Thanks Uncle Sam. Now’s We’ll Take It From Here.” Run the program out at least until the end of the year.

Hyundai has proven that being first into the market with a fresh idea counts for a lot. The Korean company was first to offer customer assurance (a program in which customers could turn a car back into the dealer if they lost their job with no hurt to their credit rating), as well as $1.49 gasoline this year. Hyundai got huge mileage from those programs in terms of Internet hits and website traffic. And sales and consideration for Hyundai continues to climb.

We’ll see if any automakers bite to extend the program on their own.

The latest on the actual government clunkers program, which ends tonight is that dealers have until noon Tuesday (tomorrow) to file transaction information with the Dept. of Transportation. The National Association of Auto Dealers is asking the DOT to extend that deadline further to make sure dealers don’t eat the rebate money they have already paid out because of filing snafus with the DOT.

Also, as of Monday, August 23, DOT said it knew of 625,000 dealer transactions worth $2.58 billion in rebates, with several hours to go until the program closed. It is pretty much a lock that all $3 billion allocated by Congress will be claimed when all is said and done.

Toyota appeared to be the top beneficiary of the program, though not all the sales are tallied.

Vehicle buying website said August sales for the auto industry appeared to be clocking in at a seasonal adjusted selling rate of 13 million-13.5 million. If that holds, it would be the industry’s best month of the year.

Reader Comments


August 24, 2009 9:08 PM

My problem with the government program is that is was a subsidy for a small group of car owners (My problem with the government program is that is was a subsidy for a small group of car owners (


August 24, 2009 10:39 PM

no more cash for clunkers. It's just a big waste


August 25, 2009 10:54 AM

It would be interesting to trace EVERY sale that resulted in this government plan and find out WHERE & WHO has ownership to these cars a month later! It is quite possible that the government was SCAMMED by many car dealers all over the USA. If a scam took place, then these cars would end up back on the dealer's lots, correct? If I were doing an investigation I'd simply want to know WHERE, & WHO had these cars about a month, or so, later. Think about it, if only 10% of these sales were done to SCAM the taxpayers & the government out of 'clunker money', then $300 MILLION was taken through deceptive & fraudulent ways of doing business, right? Imagine if it came out to be 33%. That would be a $1 BILLION scam, huh? WELCOME TO 'SCAMERICA'.


August 25, 2009 12:49 PM

Considering the nation is 2 TRILLION in debt more due to Obama's failed bailout, etc we sure as heck cannot afford more of this folly.

Michael P

August 25, 2009 2:47 PM

The first to make the program? Apparently you haven't seen the news in the last 2 weeks about the 2009 Autotive Stimulus Plan (


August 25, 2009 3:21 PM

Paperwork for each sale required registration and insurance proof for the past two years, so this program is going to be easy to audit. I have a clunker, and wasn't able to find a car I wanted to buy this last weekend, and the lots were full of customers, I'm talkin 60 customers to a lot. A lot of gas guzzlers off the road, a shot in the arm to tax revenues (new car tags cost a lot more than old in most states), auto manufacturers and the insurance industry (new cars cost lots more to insure). I say it was money well spent, altho it certainly was not fair to people who have owned fuel efficient cars already. What government program is actually fair? Not many, including the first-time home buyers credit (where was this tax credit when many bought their first homes years ago???) or that strange Washington, DC home credit that TurboTax always asks me about... not much is fair, ever.


August 25, 2009 3:28 PM

I'm thinkin' that the scam angle probably doesn't hold water. The clunkers needed to be held for 1 year prior to the trade-in by the existing owner. This data would be easily verifiable by the government via VIN code and registration information. So unless the new car dealer was holding a clunker worth less than $4500 on his lot for more than a year, he wouldn't be eligible. Most new car dealers only stock late model vehicles, though, and it seems unlikely that a newer vehicle would depreciate to less than $4500 in 2-3 years. Could an unscrupulous buyer (perhaps even a used-car dealer) buy a new car and then resell it? Possibly. But the depreciation factor would likely cause the potential gain to be a wash; it's not likely a money-making strategy. And you'd still need to buy a new car to replace the clunker, unless the clunker was an "extra" car - again, possible, but probably not that likely or prevalent.


August 25, 2009 3:31 PM

The law says the clunkers are to be destroyed by crushing them and by pouring gook into their engines. You're saying this is not being done ? Do you have evidence ?


August 25, 2009 3:33 PM

Of course there could be a scam going on and some dealers could resell the cars, but they would be breaking the law just the same as if they stole a car. I believe that the dealers must provide proof that the cars are going to a wrecker and are parted out, before they can get their money, so I don't think that is a serious problem.

As to the idea presented in the article, I think the reason that the dealers may not want to provide their own cash for clunkers deal is that they do want to sell low milage cars. Of course they could do a cash for clunkers that pays money simply to sweeten any new car deal, but it seems unlikely that American manufacturers would want to spend substantial money actually pushing high milage cars.

Now Toyota or Honda might want to consider an extra tradin value for pickup trucks and SUVs when purchasing an unpopular midsize car (their Prius and Civic are selling too well to subsidize). Problem is the money to pay for these rebates has to come from somewhere, and with record drops in auto sales I just don't know if the car companies have the money to do it.


August 25, 2009 3:35 PM

Everything that GM does... every dollar it spends, every dollar it "gives back" is a government (tax payer) dollar.

If Ford want to try, I would say it was a legit program...


August 25, 2009 3:35 PM

Yes, we can continue the program!
$4,500 for car!
$1,500 for air conditioner!
$1,000 for fridge!
We can print as much money as we have paper!
Viva Amerika!


August 25, 2009 3:36 PM

625,000 less gas guzzlers?! 625,000 lower emmission vehicles?!! Sounds like the most successful and progressive thing the government has done in a long while.


August 25, 2009 3:37 PM

Maybe the govt could now apply it to heaters, Air conditioning units, fridges, etc.


August 25, 2009 3:37 PM

Karl, what conspiracy are you speaking of? The C.A.R.S. program has 134 pages of rules and regulations and is so tight that any deviation from the rule loses the dealers money. The dealer has to prove the vehicles drivetrain has been immobilized and supply a certificate # to claim his/her money.

P.S the government is "tracing" every transaction...that is the reason the refund is taking so long

Tom H

August 25, 2009 3:39 PM

It has been an excellent test bed for the price elasticity of demand for cars. It looks to me like the auto industry could sell a lot of cars by dropping the price $4,500. Maybe the executives making tens of millions of dollars a year should put their expertise into doing just that instead of lobbying to do business as usual.


August 25, 2009 3:40 PM

I was looking for new car during clunker madness. I did not have a clunker to trade. Salesman did not want to know me. I was told that they were not dealing on cars and getting full sticker price he clunker buyers.

so why sell me a car.


August 25, 2009 3:40 PM

"Toyota appeared to be the top beneficiary of the program" I thought that this program was to help the US economy not Japan!!!!


August 25, 2009 3:40 PM

The government takes tax payer money and gives it to GM to keep building cars. Now the gorvernment takes more tax payer money and gives it back to the tax payers to buy cars built with tax payer money.....

Jeez Louise!!!!


August 25, 2009 3:43 PM


Yes! the car for clunkers program is a stupid give away of our tax dollars, largely to the overseas car makers. No! it is not being used a a dealer scam. If it was a 10% scam, the dealers would have to come up with more than 62,500 clunkers (10% of 625,000 transaction) with owners who could provide title, registraion and insurance proof, and would be willing to turn the cars over to the dealer after taking posession. Or, thousands of dealers would have to be forging documentation on these sales. And for what? So that they could pocket the money and have a car that is now showing as used on title report to try to sell as new. This gaint conspiracy, although fun, could never be kept quiet!


August 25, 2009 3:45 PM

So... the goverment has been borrowing money from my kids, who are in the market for clunkers, to give to my wealthy neighbors, so they can upgrade their Prius... by ditching that old Explorer they haven't used for years. Is this a great country, or what?


August 25, 2009 3:45 PM

I think the program should keep on going. Instead of scrapping the cars, why not recycle the parts. Someone who can't afford new car payments could go to a "Government" scrap yard and pick up the parts they need. Pay a few bucks and go on their way. The skeleton could then be melted down to make more parts for cars or appliances. The money collected in recycling the parts could keep this program going for quite a few years. Maybe not at the $4500 levels, but maybe $1000 here $2000 there.


August 25, 2009 3:48 PM

Just read Karl's comments. Anyone who knows the documentation required would know the SCAMMING he's talking about is going on only in his head. He shouldn't go there alone, it's a dangerous place.
This program had it's faults, but it was a good try. Definitely stimulated sales and got good publicity, too.


August 25, 2009 3:50 PM

I believe you have a good point, but, don't forget that in order for the dealer to get the money, first it has to go throug a lot of investigation. So, I think it could be possible, but really difficult.


August 25, 2009 3:53 PM

More than one economist has suggested that we've just shot ourselves in the foot. We've done little more than 'accelerate' new car purchases. As a result, car sales over the next 2 years could suffer. So, if that happens, will they get another bailout? So, we've now helped out the seller AND the buyer. And the rest of us are just hear to help foot the bill.

I hope they are wrong, but it does make quite a bit of sense.



August 25, 2009 3:54 PM

People used the "Cash for Clunkers" program because they perceived it as a good deal. It means that if you dropped the prices $4500, people will buy cars. The problem with "Cash for Clunkers" is that as a taxpayer, I paid a portion of all those $4500 price adjustments. So for me it is a horrible deal. I have no problem if the car companies determine they are over priced by $4500, and make a market decision to reduce prices.


August 25, 2009 3:56 PM

seriously, that's an awesome plan--all the automakers have to do is drop their prices (a la fuel efficiency rebate) and they'll be able to sell their lowest profit margin cars at an even lower cost, for cars that they are admitting that right now, they dont even have!

Mike C

August 25, 2009 3:59 PM

I've been selling cars for over 20 years and can attest to the fact the most difficult part of negotiating a transaction is dealing with a trade-in. Conversely, and what has proven unquestionably evident with the success of the C-4-C program is the typical hassle and haggle associated the value of a trade-in was eliminated. Consumer confidence also rose and people were flush with more cash for the down payment. In a similar vane, and as a way to perpetuate this fruitful process without giving away the farm, dealers would realize more sales opportunities and provide a better sales experience if they would embrace the idea of helping their own customers sell their cars private party vs. only offering the often objectionable trade-in option. This value added resource, more so than anything else, would certainly make a significant impact in the retail auto industry’s business model. Without making this heartfelt, sincere comment a solicitation, I have developed a proprietary private party sales model which would be a perfect fit to assist dealers with this cost effective process.


August 25, 2009 3:59 PM

Part of the provision for the dealers to get the money is to show proof that the car was destroyed. They don't get the money till they show that. There was one case where the car turned in was a classic and neither the junk yard nor the dealer wanted to destroy it, so instead of it being put on the gov't program the dealer and the junkyard fronted the rebate to the customer. The customer got the deal they wanted and the dealer/junkyard got a car they could put on auction because it was in mint condition.


August 25, 2009 4:07 PM

I'm tired of subsidizing the banks, automakers, the farmers, and now my neighbors freakin car. We could have put the 2.5 billion into building solar plants in AZ, wind turbines in CO, and wave energy on the coasts. That's something that could have benefits a lot more people, and actually had benefit in the future.

john bush

August 25, 2009 4:07 PM

I'm tired of subsidizing the banks, automakers, the farmers, and now my neighbors freakin car. We could have put the 2.5 billion into building solar plants in AZ, wind turbines in CO, and wave energy on the coasts. That's something that could have benefits a lot more people, and actually had benefit in the future.


August 25, 2009 4:09 PM

@Karl- You see the glass as half full don't you?


August 25, 2009 4:11 PM

Karl, you must have missed reading about the requirement that the engines of all clunkers have to be disabled by a toxic solution that causes the engines to seize. Do you really think that an auto dealer is going risk federal criminal prosecution for fraud(including a prison sentence) when it turns out that a Vin number of a vehicle they claim to have disabled turns up in some state's DOT auto registration system? It's OK to continue to worry about billion dollar scams, but this one isn't very viable.


August 25, 2009 4:11 PM

I and several others I know were able to use this program to acquire a new vehicle. In my case I bought now rather than next summer when I probably would have bought anyway. For the auto industry though it was the need to make a sale now and I was fortunate enough to be in a position to help. I have a job, a need and I was will to take the plunge. Some people sound as if people are getting free cars… trust me, I’ll be making payments.
I bought the truck I traded-in one month after 9/11 when the industry was hurting too. Then everyone seemed to be in a panic about spending money on anything too with a big unknown hanging over our country. Then as now I had a need and purchased.
With any program there will always be a group that can’t participate because of any number of reasons but if you are able to use a program it will always seem like a good idea. Besides several people I know who have complained about this are the same people that complain about anyone that gets an unemployment check, a tax write off or a free meal at soup kitchen.


August 25, 2009 4:13 PM

This's a very good chance for factories to continue follow up clunkers, to make countries go around. all factories going to sell more car by put more incentive or rebate, all of countries will be out of recession, more products is means more job, factories go with volum still making bunch of money, better than slow market.
Any one will be happy with this kind of economics. Welcome all factories who knowing do their's businesses.


August 25, 2009 4:15 PM

Honda in Western Washington jacked up their prices on their Fit sport compact from $17,200 MSRP to $19,500 during the CARS program, justifying this by saying "they now had few available"... This certainly cost them a car sale from me, I'll hold off and consider a different manufacturer. LAME!


August 25, 2009 4:19 PM

Part of the gov't deal was the engines would be destroyed. New car dealers resell trade-ins, which isn't possible under this deal. They'd be losing a lot more money if they continued this on their own.

If they didn't, explain to me the benefit? The old clunkers would end up right back on the road.


August 25, 2009 4:19 PM

If you saw everything that had to be submitted to the government you would see it is not a scam. You need proof of insurance for over a year, proof of registration for a year, the title with no lein, copies of driversd license, copy of title on purchased car, buyers order, and everything needs to match exactly. and o yea there is 15K penalty for cheating and you need to prove you blew up the motor of the clunker. Get real and quit being so negative. This is the ONLY thing that has seen measurable results out of the trillions spent.


August 25, 2009 4:20 PM

I cashed in my clunker and couldn't be happier. I think the program was a great success. The way I look at it is I am a taxpayer paying their bailout so I should reap some of the rewards. Not only a new car, better gas mileage and amazing savings. To the scam america man, sounds like you know way to much about scams. Or maybe your statement is a scam to try and make Obama look bad. Sorry you lose all the way around. No new car, or maybe you scammed one for yourself. Why don't you figure out how much gas is being saved by the purchase of almost 1/4 of a million cars. Think of how it is saving our earth. And even if you don't believe in global warming. Think of how much nicer the roads will look now. Or how it benefitted the car companies. I personally bought axl(American Axle) and sold at a profit of over $2800. If you can't give credit where credit is due. Think of all the other things that had a positive effect. Why do so many people always go negative. Things are getting better, try to find some good. Maybe you'll feel better. Welcome to my world.


August 25, 2009 4:20 PM

Any future cash for clunkers program should recycle the engines to high schools, colleges, and trade schools for experiments on making them fuel-efficient. Using your model, he auto dealer should receive an equivalent tax deduction for the donation.


August 25, 2009 4:21 PM

This is one very limited exception to the rule that spending cannot get you out of a recession. I think this Cash For Clunker program, despite all of its criticism, really did invigorate the auto industry. I have family/clients in the new dealer industry and they said it drove people into the showrooms. See my article on Cash For Clunkers at (click Ezine Expert or Blog)


August 25, 2009 4:21 PM

Has anyone analyzed the direct benefit to the State government coffers in the form of sales tax revenue?


August 25, 2009 4:22 PM

How does the energy used to create a new car (and scrap an old but serviceable one) compare with a 10mpg fuel saving? Badly I would wager.

J. R.

August 25, 2009 4:23 PM

The whole program was brain flatulence.


August 25, 2009 4:23 PM

The idea would never work because the dealers have created their own business model of distrust over the years. Any sensible citizen would know they are being scammed by these dealers who have built their businesses upon the bait and switch gimmicks they are all too well known for. The public knows dealers would never give a free lunch. The government...that's a different story.


August 25, 2009 4:24 PM

well, that would require massive fraud, the faking of ownership for alot of cars. As you know, each car had to be running AND owned by the current owner for at least one year. I'm not saying it couldnt be done, but to have that many cars? it would be toublesome at best.


August 25, 2009 4:25 PM

August 24, 2009 09:08 PM

My problem with the government program is that is was a subsidy for a small group of car owners
My problem with Mike is he is myopic. 1) It got cars moving off lots and kept dealers open. 2) It got cars moving off lots thus prompting lot owners to order more cars from manufacturers thus keeping them in business and able to repay their government loans (yes, neo-cons, the bail-outs are loans.) 3) it got inefficient cars off of the road and replaced them with more efficient ones. (yes neo-cons, that is a good thing. OPEC is a bad thing. We don't want them dictating foreign policy to us which they do as long as we need their oil.) 4) $3 Billion in stimulus is WAY less than paying un-employment to a few hundred thousand unemployed workers (100,000 directly in auto industry, 200,000 more in periphery industries.)

bright Light

August 25, 2009 4:25 PM

ahh, one answer to Scamerica.
VIN numbers. How are they going to re-sell cars when uncle sam's got the pink slips?
Think BEFORE you speak.

PS It was Elmer Fudd on the grassy knoll


August 25, 2009 4:27 PM

I personally think the CARS program was a smashing success. It spurred me to sell my '94 Jeep Cherokee which gave me many long years of service and lots of miles on the road but was starting to cost me serious money to keep it in good condition. I used the CARS program to purchase a Toyota Prius and now my fuel usage (and resulting impact on the economy) is going to be cut by at least 60%. The locally owned dealersip made some money, the salesperson made some money. All in all I think it was a successful transaction. People were complaining last fall about the economy collapsing and the government not doing anything to fix it. Will spurring economic growth via car sales is at least trying to be proactive. I'm tired of everyone complaining about both action and inaction.


August 25, 2009 4:27 PM

Why Mike thinks it is a good idea to send U.S. money to Arab states is a mystery. Why is do you want to send American money to people that hate us? Well, that's not 100% true..they do like our money.

Get a fuel efficient car and tell OPEC where they can really put their oil!


August 25, 2009 4:27 PM

Just received an email from Paragon Acura in Queens offering a Cash for Clunkers:

Paragon Acura is the only Acura dealership participating in the New Dealer funded Automotive Stimulus Program. The Automotive Stimulus Program is designed to provide you with up to 10% to 20% of additional funds towards the trade-in value of your vehicle towards the purchase of a New or Used vehicle. This new stimulus plan was created for consumers who don’t qualify for the governments program. This new stimulus plan is not a government funded program and has no affiliation with the government’s stimulus plan.
Current Vehicle Requirements:
1. Vehicle must be older than 2007
2. Vehicle must be in working condition
3. Vehicle has been owned and registered for at least 6 months
4. No minimum mpg requirements
5. Vehicles that are not eligible are: salvaged vehicles and vehicles with floor or frame damage

Replacement Vehicle Requirements:
1. Replacement vehicle must have a minimum of 2mpg improvement
2. New and Used Vehicles Qualify
3. All makes and models
4. No minimum mpg requirements
5. No price restrictions
6. This plan is not valid with the governments C.A.R.S. program


August 25, 2009 4:35 PM

Why wouldn't the auto manufacturers want to continue a "cash for clunkers" program? If they can remove used cars off the roads and scrap them it improves their likelihood of needing to build another new car. Who it hurts is the used car salesman and those who can't afford a new car as the supply of used cars begins to drop.


August 25, 2009 4:36 PM

Rich, I think you miss the point completely. This isn't funded by the government at all.

Sometimes I wonder if people read any more than just the title of an article.


August 25, 2009 4:46 PM

@Karl: That's pretty cynical. You probably also believe in the 9-11 "conspiracy". Congress designed many safeguards into the clunkers program, not the least of which requires the engine to be destroyed (running it with a sodium-silicate solution in place of oil), also the dealer has to certify they have not resold the vehicle, and it has been transferred to a scrapyard which will destroy it within 180 days. Violations are $15,000 per vehicle. Maybe there are some people figuring out a way around it, but it wouldn't be many and I would bet they would be caught eventually. However the CARS program is clearly intended to boost new car sales; it's not going to save the planet by reducing gasoline usage. All the taxpayers are footing the bill, for in a lot of cases, destroying perfectly servicable vehicles, and subsidizing new car sales, so in that sense it _is_ a scam: more big government spending programs by the Democrats.


August 25, 2009 4:57 PM

Karl, you are being irrational. First, you invent a scam, then assign an imaginary but plausible percentage to it, come up with a number, and then ask us to "imagine if it came out to be 33%".

Imagine this instead: 0% scammed. It is just as supported by the evidence, but has a nicer outcome.

Or, Imagine that the car dealers are so pleased with the outcome, that they are secretly sending anonymous checks to Obama every time they sell a car.

Or, imagine that the government came up with a program to help Americans get better, newer, more efficient cars, and it worked.


August 25, 2009 4:59 PM

Currently this idea makes no sense (or dollars). In the current Auto Manufacturers’ product portfolios, smaller more fuel efficient vehicles tend to be lower profit, lightly equipped, and entry level vehicles. OEMs have absolutely no INTERNAL incentives to pull customers away from higher profit products (bigger/‘better’ equipped models).

Again, OEMs would not execute this plan at zero net cost let alone pay a bonus/incentive to customers for the privilege of selling a less profitable vehicle.

Until the OEMs develop wide spread ‘premium’ high fuel efficiency vehicle portfolios (with correspondingly high demand & margins) they require external intervention to enact this type of program (such as ‘cash for clunkers’).


August 25, 2009 5:01 PM

I'd be curious to know what percentage of the program drove either across the Mexician or Canadian borders. Hard to believe there wasn't a US citizen requirement.

Vincent McLean

August 25, 2009 5:08 PM

And the big winner might be your 4,000,000 fellow Americans in the automobile industry who helped produce the 650,000 replacement cars that average 6.5 MPG better than the clunkers that got crushed. I have to figure the national average miles driven per year is around 15,000 miles x 6.5 MPG improvement is about $400 a year savings x 650,000 Americans = $260,000,000 NOT going to the oil companies! Better fuel economy, lower emissions, money freed-up for other things. Why do people complain about regular working people getting a break for once?
Hey Karl - why don't you ask if the dealers have been paid yet? Maybe they got scammed?


August 25, 2009 5:20 PM

Karl, While I am often a conspiracy theorist myself, I applaud your passion but let’s be practical. The GAO could conduct a statistically relevant review of a sample of deals to determine an accurate rate of fraud. Based on that analysis, additional targeted analysis could be conducted and criminal investigations could be launched.

A 100% population audit would be wasteful and counterproductive to your intent of saving the common man some tax dollars. It really would be a scam.

molly cruz

August 25, 2009 5:22 PM

Obviously. The fact that they didn't begs a million questions about "oversharing", a term I'm pushing for socialism the oversteps the logical bounds of functionality. What are States good for?


August 25, 2009 5:24 PM

I feel for the poor Americans who can't afford a vehicle while the government says "destroy the clunkers" Why couldn't they have sold them to the poor for $500 or $1000 and made some of the money back? Sure they want to save us from pollution, but there are poor people out there who can't get jobs because of the lack of transportation, There goes higher taxes to feed the poor and homeless on top of all the rest of the government spending!


August 25, 2009 5:24 PM

Oh ye of little faith. You are so busy looking for a fraud that you cannot see the truth. People were flocking to dealers to take advantage of the CARS program. Not everyone is like the Bush or the Cheney families. Most people are just honest folks trying to get by in tough times. Have a little faith in the public.


August 25, 2009 5:26 PM

The bonus given was too generous, and did not scale enough. Many of my colleagues felt that the amount given towards a new vehicle purchase should depend on just how much MPG was improved, so for example, if you improve 3-6 MPG you would receive $1,000, 7-10 receive $2,000, and if 10 or better MPH receive up to $3,000. This would have allowed more buyers to participate, and it would have better geared the program more towards its evnironmental purpose. But overall, it seems the program helped, and if GM can recover, our government can sell its shares and perhaps even profit from it.
-Peter x4057

molly cruz

August 25, 2009 5:27 PM

Obviously. The fact that they didn't begs a million questions about "oversharing", a term I'm pushing for socialism that often oversteps the logical bounds of functionality. What are States good for?
What people want is cars that don't breathe death, and they won't be enthusiastic about cars until that is the case. I would pay more for less of a car if it was non polluting.


August 25, 2009 6:04 PM

I think Karl is on to something. What if those clunkers find their way to third-world country? A 1995 is still a good car, with lots of miles left in it. I used to think that Bush was the most corrupt president in history, but I think Obama has him beat.


August 25, 2009 6:10 PM

Cash for clunkers should have been for American cars only...since mostly American cars were turned in as clunkers.


August 25, 2009 6:12 PM

Karl - What kind of crack are you smokin?


August 25, 2009 6:14 PM

Karl, as far as I know the dealerships are required to disable the motors before they junk them. They drain the oil and pour some kind of epoxy in the crank case and run it til she halts.
So chances are good that dealers won't scam to the extent you are talking, but sure, will one or two make it through the cracks? Eh... that's the way things go some times. And we as a tax payer will get effed again... like if you traded your clunker for a Chevy? You just paid to bail out Chevy, now you are paying for the Clunker... how smart are we?

Robert Bell

August 25, 2009 6:20 PM

More and more incentives -- what a good idea! I'll bet auto sales would boom if the auto industry simply sold cars at 50% off. Why not throw in free service for life and a guaranteed repurchase program? Hey, if the housing industry jointed in, everything would be great. However, you and I would have to do our part by working for, say, a dollar an hour. Lets do it!


August 25, 2009 6:41 PM

A better idea is just to continue the program indefinitely, open it up to all vehicles with a good mpg gain from old to new, and fund it with a gas tax.

That provides an incentive to conserve fuel, a bonus for buying a car that gets better mileage, and a bonus for American car manufacturing in a market-driven way that's far more sane than government CAFE standards.

It would do more for American safety and security than the Patriot Act, and more for the American economy than the bailouts.


August 25, 2009 6:47 PM

No scam. All clunkers have to be shredded or crushed. Additionally, all clunkers had to be drivable, been insured and registered for the last year. So, noone could pick up a junker for $50 and turn it around as a clunker. Lastly, the $15,000 fine per deal is enough to keep everyone honest.


August 25, 2009 8:06 PM

BRING BACK CASH FOR CLUNKERS! Contrary to some, I believe this was a huge success for everyone involved -- the automakers, dealers, consumers, as well as all of the parts manufacturers, distributors, etc. GM and others brought laid off workers back to work. Taxes were paid on all of the sold automobiles. I would take this stimulus over all of the other stimulus packages passed up to this point. I'm all for extending this through the end of the year.


August 25, 2009 8:19 PM

imagine dealers giving more than blue book value for trade in to get more sales? Imagine cutting the price on the cars that are not selling well? Why is this article acting like this is a new idea? A dealership near me has a used buick that was decent enough but too high a price for what it is. I did not buy it months ago and its still there. Lower the price and the car will sell. People want value for their money! Lower the price on the domestic cars and they will sell more of them. Not new ways of doing business.

Sunil M

August 25, 2009 8:24 PM

Q. What causes a recession?
A. The fact that people are not spending.

Q. What ends a recession?
A. People start spending again.

Oh! Great - but how can I make people spend?

A. Try lowering interest rates - if the interest rates are low - they might be willing to borrow more and spend more. Make sure banks have enough money to lend - give money to the banks.

Rate is at 0% nobody wants to borrow, nobody wants to spend. Now what do we do?

Give people a tax rebate.
They don't want to spend that money either. They just put it in the bank.

Well give them some other incentive to spend...

I think it is a very logical that they are incentivizing spending and they will go across sectors.

The problem started with housing so frst the $8,000 tax credit for home buyer, then incentives to buy a car, then incentives to buy new appliances.

This helps with circulation of money in the economy and these are big ticket items that people had been too scared to buy.

As a good side effect - it will reduce our energy consumption too.

It makes perfect sense. Why are people whining? Do they want the economy to stay down for the next 10 years with very high unemployment levels?


August 25, 2009 8:37 PM

Really? A small group of car owners? And dealers that are scamming the government? You guys hanging out with Oliver Stone? The auto industry's ripple effect is huge. Think of all the small business shop owners who make the parts for these cars. They are out of work too, people, not just the dealership owners. Lots of people trying to make a living here. I'm not saying it was the best idea ever, but it was an idea, not just someone else complaining about how bad things are. Lots of gas guzzlers are off the road now - how can that be a bad thing? You want to see some unhappy people? Wait until you hear about all the dealers who were left holding the bag after dealing the the bureaucracy and couldn't get their money because they forgot to dot an "i" somewhere. 137 page manual for these people to deal with to get their money from the government. Nobody gets anything easily from the government. If you think so, you're kidding yourself.


August 26, 2009 12:18 AM

Starting July 24 2009 consumers who would like to purchase a new car trading off their old gas guzzlers can use
the Cash For Clunkers program voucher.



August 26, 2009 12:37 AM

For working trucks the rule is not based on the fuel efficieny. As long as it is manufactured before 2001 they all qualify
but cannot be older than 25 years old.


Dean Tullis

August 26, 2009 3:15 AM

Get Real! The Dealers did not have time to put together scams. They were so busy trying to input the required information correctly, day & night, there was no time to think of scams. Think about it - after investing millions in a dealership, are they going to ruin their investment & reputation over a few dollars? No way! In some instances it took 11 hours to get one application submitted to the government's computers. And a minimum of 1 hour for each transaction.

Barbie Painter

August 26, 2009 7:11 AM

a great way to bail out the auto industry


August 26, 2009 7:37 AM

A stimulus program not funded by taxpayers? I love it!


August 26, 2009 5:24 PM

For those of you who BELIEVE that car dealers will not 'manipulate' legal documents in order for a car sale to go through, simply 'Google' this- AUTO DEALER LOUIS F HARRELSON TO PLEAD GUILTY, and read that article. Then go to and watch the 'Dateline NBC Investigation' which took a HIDDEN CAMERA into a car dealer's finance office & uncovered some 'hanky-panky'. I can can provide everyone with a lot more evidence of FRAUD in the car business, if you'd like. Thank you.


August 26, 2009 7:50 PM

This fall, we can look forward to an even more rediculous program -- Cash for Refrigerators!!! Truth is stranger than fiction. And this time most of the money will go to foreign manufacturers and labor. At least Hyundai's have many of their cars made in S. Carolina. Not Samsung and LG.

When will this idiocy end!!


August 26, 2009 8:40 PM

DataJack, 'Google' this- AUTO DEALER LOUIS F HARRELSON TO PLEAD GUILTY, and read it. If you believe that car dealers can't, & won't 'manipulate' titles & registrations for trade-ins too, then you are living on the moon, in my opinion. Make sure to visit and click on the 'Dateline NBC Investigation' that PROVES some car dealers will 'MANIPULATE' legal documents, and then send them to the bank for funding! Have a nice night.


August 27, 2009 12:28 AM

Just as the Cash for Clunkers program was riding off in the sunset, a new breed of vehicle emerged to the rescue.

At the strike of midnight, August 25, the song Oildale Limousine, from the CD, From Buck Owens Blvd to Merle Haggard Drive, was released here:
(hit "music" button and head for the CD)

A sample of Oildale Limousine can be heard via this link:

Oildale Limousine
Dr BLT and Rockwell
(also featuring Brian Benson and Mark Yeary)
words and music by Dr BLT copyright 2009


August 28, 2009 12:24 AM

Starting July 24 2009 consumers who would like to purchase a new car trading off their old gas guzzlers can use
the Cash For Clunkers program voucher.



September 23, 2009 3:08 PM

Nag Nag Nag Nag... bitch bitch bitch bitch... bonk bonk bonk bonk... spend spend spend spend... all i want is more


October 6, 2009 9:31 AM

Anyone can 'Google' this- CAR SALES: TRICKS OF THE TRADE- CONSUMER ALERT, and watch that video & see how a manager at a Car dealership altered a legal document that was necessary for a car deal to be financed by the bank, right? Thank you.

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