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Cash for Clunkers Status Update

By KBB.com Editors on August 24, 2009 5:08 PM
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Mon, Aug. 24, 2009 5:00 PM UPDATE:

The Cash for Clunkers program effectively ended at 8 p.m. EDT on Monday, August 24. The economic stimulus program was originally set to run for about three months or until the $1 billion was gone, but was eventually exhausted after just one month and $3 billion. Any lasting effects on the U.S. economy will become clearer in the weeks and months to come, but by some measures the government's Car Allowance Rebate System was an unqualified success.

Still interested in a good deal on a new car? Check out our weekly 5 Great Deals.

Thurs, Aug. 20, 2009 2:00 PM UPDATE:

In a statement released Thursday afternoon, the Transportation Department announced that Cash for Clunkers will end Monday, August 24, at 8 p.m EDT. As of Thursday, the Car Allowance Rebate System has received applications for $1.9 billion in rebates for 457,000 new vehicles. The government calculates that the resubmission of previously rejected applications, plus new transactions through the weekend, will just about dry up the $3 billion program.

Wed, Aug. 19, 2009 5:00 PM UPDATE:

According to a survey of new car dealers conducted by the National Automobile Dealers Association, the government's Cash for Clunkers program may be out of money. Again. Automotive News has reported that NADA officials have asked the government to suspend the program so that dealers and the government can process all pending paperwork and get an accurate read on exactly how much money -- if any -- is left in the kitty. How soon might the suspension kick in? "A suspension at midnight tonight would make sense," NADA Chairman John McEleney said Wednesday. At this point, though, there's been no indication from the government on whether or not any such suspension is imminent. But if you still haven't cashed in your clunker, you might want to move it to the top spot on your to-do list.

Fri, Aug. 14, 2009 1:17 PM UPDATE:

Responding to increasing dealer complaints that critical shortages of certain new vehicles has been creating problems for individuals attempting to make purchases under provisions of the Cash for Clunkers program, NHTSA has now decided to allow buyers to "reserve" vehicles rather than be restricted to choosing only from inventory that retailers have on their lots. Under terms of the agreement, any qualified dealer can formally reserve a car or truck by using its vehicle identification number (VIN) as a specific identifier on the CfC paperwork that it submits for government approval. The latest tracking data on the CARS (Car Allowance Rebate System) Act shows that it has resulted in nearly 339,000 sales and accounted for over $1.4 billion in voucher claims from dealers. The top five vehicles on the acquisition list are the Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Toyota Prius and Toyota Camry.

Mon, Aug. 10, 2009 4:46 PM UPDATE:

New data from the Department of Transportation indicated that as of last Friday, dealers had submitted paperwork covering 245,384 Cash for Clunkers transactions under the CARS (Car Allowance Rebate System) Act. The total value of claims submitted to that date hit $1.03 billion, with the average rebate credit being in the amount of $4,197. While the government did not disclose exactly how many of these claims it had approved, a National Automobile Dealers Association spokesperson indicated that its members are reporting the level of website glitches that had plagued the Cash for Clunkers in its opening days has subsided substantially.

Fri, Aug. 7, 2009 11:30 AM UPDATE:

After House approval last week, the Senate on Thursday passed the $2 billion Cash for Clunkers extension. On Friday morning President Obama signed it into law, extending the program until Labor Day or until the money runs out. While the program is still working through a number of administrative bottlenecks, even its staunchest critics can't fault the stunning results that Cash for Clunkers has generated in bolstering the bottom line of most auto manufacturers. The single biggest winners have been General Motors, Toyota and Ford, which saw their Cash for Clunkers-related sales jump by 18.7 percent, 17.9 percent and 16.0 percent, respectively. Equally important to the program's mission, government data indicates that new vehicles sold under the program will average 25.4 mpg, which represents a 61-percent increase over the 15.8-mpg EPA stats of the clunkers they replaced.

Tues, Aug. 4, 2009 2:00 PM UPDATE:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has expressed confidence that the Senate will approve the $2 billion Cash for Clunkers extension before the end of the week. It appears the program is on track to continue without interruption, and with twice the money it had at launch.

Mon, Aug. 3, 2009 10:45 AM UPDATE:

In a C-SPAN interview Sunday, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the Obama administration would honor any Cash for Clunkers deals made through Tuesday, while warning that the program will have to be suspended this week unless the Senate authorizes the additional $2 billion already approved by the House.

Sat, Aug. 1, 2009 5:00 PM UPDATE:

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirmed Saturday afternoon that the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS) is indeed still operating.

Fri, Jul. 31, 2009 1:02 PM UPDATE:

The House has voted 316-109 to infuse the unexpectedly popular CARS program with an additional $2 billion. The Senate will vote Monday, but the Obama administration has said the program will be kept running through the weekend. Participation will be at individual dealers' discretion.

Original story:

Overwhelming consumer response to the government's highly-publicized Cash for Clunkers program has created some serious questions about its future financial viability. As of early Friday, those questions remained largely unanswered. Officially known as the CARS (Car Allowance Rebate System) Act, it kicked off last Friday and was set to formally expire on November 1, although its de facto end had always been tied to whenever its nearly $1 billion in allocated funding ran out. Thursday afternoon, NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration), which oversees the CARS Act, told members of Congress that it planned to suspend operations at midnight based on transaction information received from the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA). A NADA poll indicated that virtually all of the money allocated to cover reimbursement of the $3,500-$4,500 in CARS credits its dealers have been providing to consumers who traded in their eligible gas guzzlers on new, more fuel-efficient vehicles may have already been appropriated. Massive paperwork backlogs on what could be in excess of 200,000 total sales are further complicating efforts to determine just how much, if any, funding actually remains. Shortly thereafter, a White House spokesperson put a slightly different spin on things stating that the phenomenally successful Cash For Clunkers program was not being "suspended," but merely being placed under "review" to allow Congress and the White House to assess new options regarding how CARS could be extended and recapitalized.

Attempting to quell rising fears about the uncertainties of this situation, a White House statement on Thursday night reaffirmed that: "Dealers and consumers should have confidence that all valid CARS transactions that have taken place to date will be honored." Unfortunately, it neglected to say anything about the status of any subsequent deals, which should make for some rather interesting dealer/customer interactions this weekend -- or until a definitive resolution takes place. Among the possibilities already being discussed is allocating additional monies from the remaining TARP (Trouble Asset Relief Program) funds or even creating a new CARS II package that would come with even more total money but also carry more stringent mileage requirements. Be sure to check with KBB.com a regular basis for the latest updates on where things stand with the Cash for Clunkers program.

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