Guidelines from the US DOT
• Your vehicle must be less than 25 years old on the trade-in date
• Only purchase or lease of new vehicles qualify
• Generally, trade-in vehicles must get 18 or less MPG (some very large pick-up trucks and cargo vans have different requirements)
• Trade-in vehicles must be registered and insured continuously for the full year preceding the trade-in
• You don’t need a voucher, dealers will apply a credit at purchase
• Program runs through Nov. 1 or when the funds are exhausted, whichever comes first.
• The program requires the scrapping of your eligible trade-in vehicle, and that the dealer disclose to you an estimate of the scrap value of your trade-in. The scrap value, however minimal, will be in addition to the rebate, and not in place of the rebate.
For more information go to www.cars.gov or call 1-866-CAR-7891.
As Congress approved a $2 billion refill into the unexpectedly popular Car Allowance Rebate System, or "Cash for Clunkers" program Thursday, local car dealers are gearing up for a second wave of customers.
After a busy first week, many dealerships had put a hold on selling more cars under the program to see if Congress would approve the second round of funds.
Greg Moore, owner of Kia of Conyers, said his dealership had sold about 20 vehicles under the program from Monday to Wednesday.
"Just talking to the customers, I believe 90 percent wouldn’t have bought a car unless ‘Cash for Clunkers.’ Not that they didn’t need them," he said.
The Kia Spectra, which sees close to 30 miles a gallon, and Sportage, which was sold out as of Thursday, were the most popular models customers drove away with. Trade-in models seemed to be Ford Explorers and vans, said Moore.
Initially, Moore didn’t think the program would work. "But once it got started, the salesmen got excited and the sales managers got excited," he said.
Moore advises customers to act fast if they’re still considering participating in the program. "If they were holding back in the first go-around, and they decide they want to do it, they need to do it pretty quick," he said
Ken Komendat, general sales manager at the Lou Sobhn Buick, Pontiac, GMC dealership, said they saw about 25 to 30 customers attempt to participate in the program and had six vehicles sold under the program.
"There’s a lot of confusion on the consumer end about what they’re trading in and what qualifies to be sold. There’s a little bit of a teaching process," he said.
The most popular models purchased have been the Pontiac Vibe and G6. Customers have traded in older, full-sized SUVs and older model luxury vehicles, such as a 20-year-old Mercedes Benz.
"I’m a success story of what the government’s trying to accomplish — taking these gas hogs off the road and putting fuel efficient cars on the road."
The program was signed into law earlier this year with a fund of $1 billion, which was estimated to last until November but quickly ran out due to popular demand. The program offers $3,500 to $4,500 credit toward the purchase or lease of a new vehicle with the trade in of an older, less efficient vehicle.
In the program so far, GM’s share of cars sold is largest, accounting for 18.7 percent of new sales. Toyota Motor Corp. followed with 17.9 percent, while Ford had 16 percent. Detroit automakers represented 45.3 percent of the total sales, while Toyota, Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co., all Japanese firms, totaled 36.5 percent.
Toyota also has the best-selling new model for traders of clunkers, the Corolla. The Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Toyota Prius and Toyota Camry are also favorites. There is one SUV on the list, the Ford Escape, which also comes in a hybrid model that can get up to 32 mpg. Six of the top-10 selling vehicles are built by foreign manufacturers, but most are built in North America.
The AP contributed to this article.