Another day, another Cash For Clunkers news digest:

First off, some numbers. The government now says that 180,000 cars have been sold through C.A.R.S., enough to account for $775.2 million of the original plan's $1 billion in funding. Since not all of the vehicles sold have yet been confirmed by the government, fears that the money will be used up appear valid. The new numbers show that the Ford Focus' reign as top seller was short-lived; the Toyota Corolla is the new number one. On average, the government says, the average mpg for vehicles clunked was 18.5 mpg while the average for the cars sold was 25.3 mpg (remember that trucks don't fall under the same 18 mpg limit that passenger vehicles do).

Speaking of limits, it's safe to assume that a lot of people would like to trade in their old cars but can't because they have an official rating above 18 mpg. To offer these drivers a little something – and, naturally, to boost sales – a collection of auto dealers have come together to offer the "Auto Stimulus Plan," which can give buyers up to $4,500 on any vehicle from 2006 or earlier that
can be used towards the purchase of a pre-owned vehicle and a lease of any term. The specific Automotive Stimulus Plan incentives vary by the make and model of the vehicle you select and are offered in different forms in every state due to automotive advertising rules and regulations.
To see what your vehicle might be worth under this plan, check out the ASP site and read the press release after the jump.

As for funding the official C.A.R.S. program beyond this minute, the Senate will vote on the extra $2 billion later today. The Auto Alliance is encouraging Senators to vote for "clean passage" (i.e., without any amendments) of the bill. See their statement after the break.

A few other tidbits: C.A.R.S. is boosting the number of new clean diesel cars on the road, says Biodiesel Magazine. Apparently, BMW's trick is working. Another side benefit: C4C is improving the overall safety of the vehicles on the road because a lot of rides with full-powered airbags and/or a tendency be involved in single-vehicle rollover accidents have now been disabled. Oh, and that 18 mpg limit that we heard charities were insistent on in order to keep vehicle donations coming their way? It might have been a good idea from their end, but the well is nonetheless running dry.

[Sources: Reuters, Fox, Automotive News (subs req'd) | Image: Kevork Djansezian/Getty]


Top U.S. Dealers Launch Auto Stimulus Plan To Help Consumers Left Behind By Government's Cash For Clunkers Program:

NEW YORK, Aug. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- launches today. Some of the largest automotive retailers in the country are launching today a privately funded stimulus program to provide up to $4500 in additional incentives for consumers to making it easier for them to get a newer more fuel efficient vehicle. The dealer funded Automotive Stimulus Plan was designed to complement the government's program and to compensate for some of the gaps that don't allow consumers to purchase pre-owned vehicles or chose a short term lease. Originally expected to launch on August 14th, the Plan's launch was pushed forward to today due to the recent developments with Cash For Clunkers.

"The government program has been fantastic for business but some of our customers have been disappointed because the program's rules left them behind," said Scott Gruwell from Courtesy Chevrolet, one of GM's largest dealers and one of the retailers participating in the Auto Stimulus Plan. "Letting consumers lease a new vehicle or buy a pre-owned vehicle makes it affordable for a lot of people who could not participate otherwise."

The stimulus program was slated to start on August 14th, 2009 but participating retailers decided to launch the program this week because of the instability of the governments program. "We have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to attract consumers to the dealership and we don't know if the government will have the money to fund the program," said Brian Benstock from Paragon Auto Group, one of the participating dealers in New York City. "Now we are prepared to help our customers even if the government program runs out of money. Our motto is 'no customer left behind.'"

The Automotive Stimulus Plan gives consumers up to $4500 in incentives towards the purchase or lease of a new or pre-owned vehicle. The program promises fewer requirements, easier paperwork and no required down payment if the consumer qualifies. "If the government's program gets more funding it will help a lot but there are still consumers who can't afford it and the Auto Stimulus plan is designed to help them," said Rick Case, owner of Rick Case Automotive Group in Florida, Georgia and Ohio. "Consumers will pay less per year to drive a newer car because the payments are so low and the gas and repair savings are so high."

The Automotive Stimulus Plan is a private sector program funded by retailers to provide incentives to consumers that will help the economy and the environment at the same time. To qualify for an incentive, a consumer must select a new or pre-owned vehicle that gets two mpg better mpg than their current vehicle, which is the same requirement the government program has for SUV's, but this applies to all vehicles under the dealer's plan.

If a consumer does not have a trade, they can participate in the program if they select a vehicle with two mpg better than the government's mpg requirement of 17 mpg. "The mpg requirements are lower because our primary goal is to help consumers that don't qualify for the government's program and to stimulate the economy through improved sales, jobs and spending," said Gruwell. "As a result, the environmental benefits will not be as big as the government program but it will help more customers purchase more fuel efficient vehicles."

"We have customers who measure their vehicles mpg weekly and they get 12 mpg but the government's calculator says they get 19 mpg so they don't qualify. Our program makes it easier for them get a more fuel efficient vehicle by not having a mpg requirement for their current vehicle," said Benstock. "Under our stimulus program a customer can get a new Accord for five dollars a day which means they can drive a car for practically free when you deduct the gas savings."

The Automotive Stimulus Plan incentives vary by state and the make and model of the vehicle they select. Consumers can learn more about the program and begin connecting with participating retailers by visiting:

Automotive Stimulus Program Requirements:
1. Current vehicle is a 2006 or older
2. Current vehicle is operable
3. Current vehicle has been owned for a minimum of six months
4. Current vehicle has been registered for a minimum of six months
5. The replacement vehicle has to be more fuel efficient by a minimum of
two mpg
6. Incentives vary based on current vehicle and desired vehicle (visit for details)

7. Incentives vary by State, Make and Model. Incentives vary in some
states due to state laws that regulate to automotive advertising and

The Auto Stimulus Plan will end on November 1st and will continue if the government's program expires before that date.

Participating dealers are eager to get the stimulus plan started ahead of schedule because of the recent turbulence with the government program. "We intended for our Stimulus Plan to compliment the government's program but now it may have to take its place when the government funds run out," said Vince Sheehy from Sheehy Automotive Group in Washington DC, Virginia, Maryland and Baltimore, one of the participating dealers.

The organization informs consumers that they should be patient if they cannot get through to the website this week, as the program is being launched and traffic levels may be high. When the governments program went live they experienced difficulties with high traffic volumes that affected their servers and the website may experience similar issues. Consumers are advised to visit at a later time if the site is not functioning properly.

About is funded and promoted by some of the largest automotive retailers in the country. Participating dealers are domestic and import licensed new car dealers who have agreed to provide additional incentives for consumers to get a newer more fuel efficient vehicle. website and communication campaign was built by Level 5, an automotive marketing and consulting firm that specializes in creating and implementing integrated programs for Manufacturers, Associations and Retailers. This stimulus plan is a private program and is not affiliated with the government program. For more information about the governments program visit


August 6, 2009

Dear Senator:

Automakers strongly urge the Senate to pass H.R. 3435 without amendment to ensure that the highly successful "Cash for Clunkers" program can continue, without interruption through August. Cash for Clunkers benefits have spread well beyond consumers and the auto industry. The program has spurred manufacturing and provided a much needed boost to cities and communities throughout the country. Scrappage facilities and steel producers alike are seeing an uptick in business. Even charitable organizations expect to see an increase in vehicle donations.

There is no question that Cash for Clunkers has exceeded expectations. Fully funded, and at its current pace, the program will result in a:

* more than 2 million metric ton reduction in greenhouse gas emissions,
* more than a 215 million gallon gasoline savings;
* an average annual savings at the pump of $800 per vehicle.

While several of the amendments may have merit, due to the House having adjourned, and the depletion of the initial $1 billion allocation, passage of any them would shut down the program. For that reason we urge you to oppose all amendments and support clean passage of the H.R. 3435.

Dave McCurdy
President & CEO
Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers

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