• Aug 14th 2009 at 4:00PM
  • 25
Have you experienced the crushing disappointment of arriving at your local dealer all ready to plunk down some hard earned income for a new car thanks to the government's Cash for Clunkers program, only to find out that your trade-in, which you thought was a clunker, really isn't? Chances are you have, as only 10-15% of car owners actually qualify for C4C.

A group of 40 privately funded car and truck dealers from around the country have banded together to pick up the government's slack and service all of those car owners who aren't eligible for C4C. And unlike the government's program, their definition of a "clunker" covers pretty much anything.

They call it the Automotive Stimulus Program, and will basically give you a trade-in credit ranging anywhere from $500 to a government-matching $4,500. Your particular rebate will vary depending on the value of your trade-in and how much more fuel efficient your new car is, but Kicking Tires reports that a 2 mpg improvement between your old and new car should net you a 10% bonus on your trade-in, while a 5 mpg bump earns a 20% bump. So if you're trade-in is worth $10,000 and the new car you purchase is 5 mpg more efficient, you'll receive a credit of $2,000 on top of your trade-in value. Even better, the Stimulus Plan lets you choose leasing or buying a certified pre-owned vehicles in addition to buying a brand new car.

The rules are pretty simple (at least simpler than Uncle Sam's): Your trade-in vehicle must be a 2006 model or older, in operating condition, registered in your name for at least six months and the new car has to be at least 2 mpg more efficient. That's it. And the good thing, at least from our car compassionate perspective, is that your trade-in won't be destroyed, but rather resold on the dealer's used car lot.

[Source: Automotive Stimulus Plan via Kicking Tires]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      FYI More people are paying off their cards than adding to it. The national credit card dept in 2009 was reduced by 5 1/4% from the first to second quarter. Consumers are finally starting to save more after decades of spending. The average American is now saving 7 percent of their income.
        • 6 Years Ago
        This comment was in response to Jeff Johnson
      • 6 Years Ago
      This program makes a lot more sense than C.A.R.S.
      • 6 Years Ago
      some people have money and jobs... but even if the country was humming along before the huge slump, the fact is if you grab a random person off the street more than likely they will have a significant amount of debt. some things can be excuseable like owing 100K on a house you just bought, or 25K on a car you just bought. Credit card debt though has chewed this country to hell. Do you really think rates would be 20% interest if there wasnt so many people out there that treated CC's like cash.

      With the recession that hit, people realized the gravy train is over, instead of doing the natural thing and saving their money and tightening their belt, the government has taken steps to jumpstart things with money we don't even have. It does not take an economics major to realize that's just F'd.

      The parlor trick is the fact that car dealers, Uncle sam, and a few other politicians have gotten you to smile and think happy thoughts while signing yourself further into debt. I don't know about you guys but when I have bought a new car in the past, I plan for it, budget for it, but for those 10 minutes I'm doing the paper work and signing my name on tons of lines locking myself into 25K worth of debt, I say to myself "damn this sucks" even though I know I can pay it off.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yeah, last summer when gas was $4.30 a gallon around here I had someone at least once a week wanting to buy my old Metro. Even now, GOOD lower mileage (under about 120,000) 3 banger Metros- with AC and no rust- will bring at least $2500 on eBay; I check them daily. Mine, though, has nearly 230,000 miles on it- it had 68k on it 4 years ago- and it IS tired, though I suppose the cost(s) of repairs are less than a payment, which I definitely can't bring myself to sign up for, not in this economy.

      But it WOULD be nice to have something brand new with a warranty, even if the warranty only lasted for half a year or so (they don't last long when you drive 800 miles a week).

      A Prius? Not a chance in hell. Way too high tech, likely hard to repair in the future when needed, and likely costly to insure for the same reason- plus, they're minimum $25,000 around here.

      Waiting for the Fiesta or the Spark, I guess.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I would prefer to buy a domestic brand, first of all, and I know too many people who've had a LOT of trouble out of their VWs- chronic ABS, AC and power accessory stuff- plus, they run in the mid 20's, too, and diesel is running an extra 30¢ above regular around here right now. Can't bring myself to spend that kind of money on one to get less mileage than I get now.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I would look at the VW Jetta TDi. If you drive that much a Diesel is probably the most economical choice.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Of course they will add your "bonus cash" to the price of your new car, but you might feel like you saved money.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "So if you're trade-in is worth $10,000 and the new car you purchase is 5. . ."

        • 6 Years Ago
        What are you, an English teacher?
        The meaning is clear, gramatical nit-picking is completely unnecessary
        • 6 Years Ago
        • 6 Years Ago
        @Erik - it is necessary. Too many people misspell and if you don't correct them it will propagate - and they just look stupid.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "What are you, an English teacher?
        The meaning is clear, gramatical nit-picking is completely unnecessary"

        1. You should have used a semicolon.
        2. You spelled 'grammatical' wrong.
        3. You forgot the period.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You guys are being rediculous.

        • 6 Years Ago
        henrykrinkle: This is a blog, not an 8th grade English essay. Perfect spelling and punctuation have there place, this is not it. Lighten up a little.
      • 6 Years Ago
      anything to get you to spend money you don't really have.
        • 6 Years Ago
        My friend just bought a car... a nice car in fact. She is buried in credit card debit, but since her previous car was totalled by an idiot running a red, she had 21k to drop on a car. Maybe it wasnt the best financial decision, but it shows how even if you don't have money you can afford a car.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Some people still have money and jobs. Even at 10% unemployment, 90% still make money (not to mention the gilded 1% who make money off money).

        Anyway, there's still money to spent. The days of easy credit are long gone, so most people who are financing are well qualified and the rest are paying cash.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Since 50% + of GDP is based upon spending .. yeah Obama + Senate want's to create any kind of a law that will do that
      • 6 Years Ago
      So basically they're eating some of their normal markup on a trade in because sales are slow.


      Otherwise, somewhat clever way to market what happens normally on a good haggle in a bad car market.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sorry, "their" ;)
      • 6 Years Ago
      Anything that puts the economy back in place is good...I guess.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Both trucks are car qualify for the Cash For Clunkers but not the motorcycles.

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