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France had one of Europe's most ambitious "cash for clunkers" plan, but the fun will end in the new year. Starting January 1st, France's program will only pay out the largest award – €1,000 – to buyers of just one model: the smart fortwo cdi. The reason can be found at the tailpipe.

The French minister of Economic Affairs, Christine Lagarde, has announced that the country's current cash-for-clunkers scheme, called prime à la casse, will be extended for two additional years. The initial plan was to end the program by the end of this year, but the government believes that the car market would likely crash if the stimulus Euros were withdrawn now. In order to apply for the €1,000 grant from the Government, French car buyers need to replace an old car with one that