Cash for 'Cash for Clunkers'

by Lynn B. Johnson on July 31, 2009

gas-guzzlerAs I prognosticated before the bill was even signed into law, many carmakers have jumped onto the Cash-for-Clunkers bandwagon and are offering additional incentives.  It definitely pays to do a bit of research at your local dealerships to see if you can qualify for additional trade-in cash or special financing. (But do it quick, because unless Congress extends the program, it could be over as soon as this weekend, according to White House press secretary Robert Gibbs). In the meanwhile, read on for a rundown of  offers from major auto companies.

Under the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS) program, the lease period for new vehicles must be at least five years. As such, Toyota has created special five-year leases specifically for the CARS program. Sixty-month leases are in place for the Camry, Corolla, RAV4, Tacoma, and Yaris models. To find the special offers available near you, visit Buy A Toyota and type your Zip code into the “Special Offers” box in the lower left-hand corner.

Mazda’s participating dealerships are offering an additional $500 in Mazda CARS Bonus Cash if your trade-in qualifies for either of the Cash for Clunkers rebates. Their small print lets you know that “For $500 Mazda CARS Bonus Cash take new retail delivery from dealer stock by September 30, 2009. See dealer for complete details.”

Chrysler’s deal is particularly sweet: their “Double CA$H For Your Old Car” promotion matches the $4,500 rebate for qualifying trade-ins and new vehicles. According to an article by AP, Chrysler “will offer up to $4,500 cash or zero percent financing for six years on most of its 2009 Chrysler, Dodge or Jeep models.” The program lasts until August 31.

Nissan is offering additional cash-back up to $2,500 on specific new models.

Even BMW is joining the fray with their own incentive program: a $4,500 “Eco Credit” toward the purchase of a 335d or X5 xDrive35d diesel vehicle. These vehicles also come with a respective $900 and $1,800 tax credit.

If you’re looking to purchase a hybrid, regardless of dealer, you may also be eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to $3,400. This is in addition to the CARS rebate (if your trade-in qualifies for such). More information is available here.

On the first day of the program, 4,000 cars were traded in. The federal government has set up a countdown that tracks the fund balance remaining for the program. Today the news is full of worries that the money earmarked for the program has already been exhausted, which tells me that the “24 hours behind” on the countdown clock is more like a week behind — every time I’ve checked the countdown clock, it’s read “$858M Remaining.” The government is looking for ways to expand the program. In any case, the rebate money and these special offers won’t last forever, so if you want to take part, do so sooner rather than later, and remember that the rebate is only good toward the purchase/lease of a new vehicle. Here is also more info on the cash for clunkers eligibility.

Found any other deals? Post a comment!


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December 29 at 01:39 am
Cash for clunkers will increase new car sales, but it will be at the expense of auto mechanics, auto parts stores, used car dealers, car donation charities and the poor.
August 21 at 14:30 pm
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.

August 12 at 04:41 am
Money Man
Say what you will, this is a good thing. It is better than just giving cash to people. I used the site WWW.SLICKBUDGET.COM/CASH4CLUNKERS.HTML to get an informed decision on what car to get and it saved me thousands. I ended up getting a Nissan Ultima Hybrid. This saved me $4500 for the clunkers + $2400 in hybrid tax credit + $2000 from the dealer + $3500 from Nissan! That is $12400 off the sticker of $27300 to get me a mid size hybrid that gets 35 MPG for $14900!!! Are you kidding me? AND
August 9 at 23:50 pm

It doesn't matter if they more money. They problem is still the backlog. Read this article: The Real Reason for the "Cash for Clunkers" Suspension. The ex car salesman blog shares exactly why they stopped the program. Even reports that some sales managers are calling asking for the money back because they were denied the rebate when the final paperwork was submitted but their car was already ruined by dumping a solution in the engine. They now have no car. Scary. See:
July 31 at 13:06 pm
Unfortunate that the media and government once again are not reporting the other side of the story, the fact that EPA changed the mileage requirements for a lot of cars as reported initially by That is they are disqualifying a disproportionately more "Non American" cars. And if this is truly to encourage car buying then why have a mileage qualifier, since most people will trade in the car if it is worth less than $4,500. IF not they will most likely hold on to the car or trade in.
July 31 at 12:28 pm

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