• Jul 2nd 2009 at 5:28PM
  • 15
2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring – Click above for high-res image gallery

While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration doesn't plan to release its final rules and regulations for the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), otherwise known as Cash-for-Clunkers program, until July 23rd, Hyundai has decided that its customers don't have to wait. Alexandria Hyundai in Alexandria, VA has already accepted the first trade-in and doled out its first rebate. The clunker is a 15-mpg 1995 Ford Explorer, and Katherine Michon of Arlington, VA traded it in for a $4,500 credit on a brand new 26-mpg Hyundai Elantra Touring.

How can Hyundai get away with accepting clunkers early? The automaker is giving dealers short-term cash advances to cover the cost of its rebates until the CARS program officially kicks off later this month. Hyundai has 13 models with particular engine combinations that qualify for CARS, and the NHTSA has already confirmed that transactions on or after July 1, 2009 are eligible.

This could be a brilliant move on Hyundai's part, since its own internal research shows that 11 percent of car shoppers have delayed their purchase to take advantage of the rebates. If Hyundai is the only game in town that's accepting trade-ins and giving rebates early, it could steal a few sales away from other brands that are waiting patiently for the program to officially begin.

On the other hand, the NHTSA warns on the CARS official website that "interested dealers and consumers may want to wait until all of the detailed issues that must be addressed in the implementing regulations are resolved and the final rule is issued." By that time, however, you'll be driving around in a new car and getting reimbursed for the rebate will by Hyundai's problem.

[Source: Hyundai]



Participating Hyundai Dealers Now Taking Eligible Trades in the "Cash for Clunkers" Program

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., July 2, 2009 – After months of debate and rounds of legislation, the wait has ended. Consumers can finally take advantage of the government's "Car Allowance Rebate System" (CARS), and Hyundai is leading the way. Katherine Michon of Arlington, Virginia was the first to trade-in an eligible clunker for a new Hyundai, replacing her 15 mile-per-gallon 1995 Ford Explorer with a 26 mile-per-gallon Hyundai Elantra Touring, at Alexandria Hyundai in Alexandria, Virginia.

Hyundai buyers will receive the full rebate allocated under the CARS program (also known as "cash for clunkers") when an eligible trade-in is exchanged for a qualifying Hyundai model. Hyundai is the first automaker to extend the government incentive to consumers, accelerating its implementation by several weeks by backing dealerships with short-term cash advances as the government organizes the rollout of the program industry-wide.

In May, Hyundai research showed that 11 percent of car buyers delayed their purchases until the CARS legislation was resolved. "We appreciate what Washington has done getting the program completed, but it's clear that the wait has left many potential car-buyers on the sidelines," said John Krafcik, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor America. "We thought it was imperative to get funding to our dealers so that they could implement the program right away and satisfy the demand they've been hearing from consumers."

Under the CARS program, consumers qualify for a $4,500 rebate on the purchase or lease of new vehicles that achieve 10 miles per gallon more than a trade-in car or five miles per gallon or more than a trade-in light truck. New vehicles that achieve between 4 to 9 mpg more than a trade-in car, or 2 to 4 mpg more than a trade-in light truck qualify for a $3,500 incentive.

Thirteen Hyundai models and engine combinations qualify for the CARS incentive program, which requires passenger cars achieve 22 mpg or more combined fuel economy, and light trucks achieve 18 mpg or better combined fuel economy.

  • Accent
  • Elantra
  • Elantra Touring
  • Entourage
  • Sonata 2.4L
  • Sonata 3.3L
  • 2010 Genesis Coupe 2.0L
  • Tiburon 2.0L
  • Tucson 2.0L
  • Tucson 2.7L
  • Santa Fe 2.7L
  • Santa Fe 3.3L
  • Veracruz
Five Hyundai models achieve 30 miles per gallon or more on the highway –Accent, Elantra, Elantra Touring, Genesis Coupe 2.0L and Sonata 2.4L. Hyundai ranks third in corporate average fuel economy according the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, so consumers will realize further cost savings by stepping into a more fuel-efficient model than they currently drive.

The CARS incentive program complements all existing special incentives and financing options from the manufacturer, including Hyundai Assurance, which allows consumers to return their vehicle if they unexpectedly lose their income, and Hyundai Assurance Gas Lock, which offers a year's worth of gas at a guaranteed price of $1.49 per gallon.


Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through more than 790 dealerships nationwide. All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by The Hyundai Advantage, America's Best Warranty. In addition, Hyundai Assurance is now offered on all new vehicles leased or purchased from a certified Hyundai dealer. The program is available to any consumer, regardless of age, health, employment record or financed amount of the vehicle. The program is complimentary for the first 12 months.

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Kudos to Hyundai, smart move, their marketing team is just on a roll right now.
      • 6 Years Ago
      WTF is this supposed to mean? " .... the NHTSA warns on the CARS official website that "interested dealers and consumers may want to wait until all of the detailed issues that must be addressed in the implementing regulations are resolved and the final rule is issued." So, what's the worst that can happen? The government changes program, Hyundai doesn't get reimbursed, so instead they sell the clunkers at auction. They still get a new car sale out of it! And because the government sat on it's hands with it's fingers up it's ass, the clunker is still on the road too!
      • 6 Years Ago
      This really pisses me off. Fortunate people may consider that explorer a "clunker," but there's tons charitable organizations and millions down-on-thier-luck folks who would desperately need it. Now it will be destroyed for no good reason. Great plan.
      • 6 Years Ago
      A local dealer was offering Elantra Touring automatics for $15,500 last week. Now I know why they've sold 10 of them in the last two days.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hyundai's been making some great business moves lately, first with Hyundai Assurance, now this. They seem to have a very savvy corporate team, and I think this is a very good calculated risk, since Cash-for-Clunkers is all but finalized.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I gotta agree this is a pretty brilliant move.
        So probably for the only time ever in my life I'm really wishing I had a piece of crap car worth like $500 to trade for, lol.
        Wonder how much it would cost to pay just liability insurance for a clunker to sit on it for a year.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ Mr. Oak

        "the NHTSA has already confirmed that transactions on or after July 1, 2009 are eligible."
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yes, but they should not be reimbursed for any transactions that pre dates the passage of the bill. Just the same way that horses are not allowed to leave the gates early at the Kentucky Derby. Imagine one boxer being allowed to start throwing hay makers before the bell is rung.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Mr Oak - They aren't pre-dating anything. The program covers purchases made on or after yesterday. ".....the NHTSA has already confirmed that transactions on or after July 1, 2009 are eligible."
      The government won't start transferring money to the dealers until the end of July.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The Ford Explorer.

      Couldn't have picked a better "clunker" to start this off with.
        • 6 Years Ago
        It was probably still being driven, unlike a Toyota truck product which would have clunked out with rust years ago.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Haha yeah really i got a 93 that needs to go ... but not sure what i want
      • 6 Years Ago
      How is this any different from the trade in practices already available to consumers? Is it just manufacturer backed instead of dealership backed?

      Also, seems silly to only require a 5 or 10 MPG differential in fuel economy. What other conditions must apply to the clunker status? Does it have to be within a certain age range, operable, etc.?
      • 6 Years Ago
      It gives Hyundai a headstart on stripping this cars down for parts before sending them to the crusher. Maybe they can make a bit of cash on the deal. cars.gov states:

      "The entity crushing or shredding the vehicles in this manner will be allowed to sell some parts of the vehicle prior to crushing or shredding it, but these parts cannot include the engine or the drive train."

      That's a pretty broad statement right there.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Way to go Hyundai! I can only hope that these bold "pathfinding" moves will serve to remove the stupid "cheap-Korean-carmaker" stigma that surrounds Hyundai, especially in this ailing economic climate.
    • Load More Comments