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Automotive Stimulus Program Takes The Government Out of Clunkers?

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Automotive Stimulus Program Logo

Automotive Stimulus Program Logo

The reports are mounting of an increasingly common scene: a would-be new car buyer is thwarted in their attempts to trade in a car under the government's cash for clunkers program, and leaves the lot dejected. But now a private group of automotive retailers has joined forces to offer their own incentives to buyers looking to trade in an old car on a new one - and to further help those already trading their cars in under the official clunker plan, too.

Unlike the government's plan, any currently operable 2006 model year or older vehicle that's been owned and registered for the previous six months and is at least 2 mpg less efficient than the new vehicle is eligible for the trade-in, and the money offered is on top of - not instead of - any money the car might be worth under the official Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS).

That last little tidbit might be the real kicker to the program, since otherwise it's just a standard vehicle trade-in dressed up in economic stimulus clothes. But by adding the extra trade-in incentive on top of the government incentive, buyers stand to make even better deals for themselves. The incentives are also available for leases, and for the purchase of pre-owned vehicles.

The boost in sales to the car industry has so far been huge, with forecasted annual sales booming from the barely-10-million mark to over 11 million for 2009. That success means the $3 billion allocated to the CARS program is rapidly running out. There's no word yet on how much money is being pumped into the private Automotive Stimulus Program (ASP).

So how much money can you get from the ASP? It depends on what you're trading in, but the maximum incentive is $4,500, mirroring the federal incentives. That means buyers could in theory get a combined $9,000 off a new vehicle under the right circumstances.

The group's website promises to have a 'stimulus calculator' live soon that will help buyers in estimated just how much their trade-in is worth under the program. The site does have a few other resources that are available now, however, including a list of participating dealerships and a video (also embedded below) explaining the outline of the program.

To learn more about the ASP, check out the official site at the link below, and let us know what you think about it in the comments section while you're at it.

[Automotive Stimulus Program]

Automotive Stimulus Program Promotional Video

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Comments (3)
  1. This makes sense because i did not qualify because of my current cars mpg but i want to buy a car that gets 12 mpg better fuel economy and i don't qualify for the governments program. I was planning on leasing an accord for 36 months (which the govt program does not allow) because the payments are $250 but with this program they should be less than $200. I still think the government should allow consumers like me to get the credit on top of the dealer credit. They should also allow consumers to buy used cars, as long as they improve thier fuel economy, just like this dealer program. Why can't the government use these rules, they make more sense.
     
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  2. This looks to me like a way for dealers to get your contact information and then endlessly pester you. If this is a real incentive program, put the information on the web about what incentive is available in each state on each new vehicle. I think this program is bogus.
     
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  3. I can't believe the press that this has received. This should have a more cautionary tone. It's an advertising/marketing campaign, aimed at capturing personal info for people who can't get the official rebate, and holding on to the potential sale. It's not helpful, and it's nothing out of the ordinary, except it's an organized form of the traditional minimum-trade scam that dealers have been trying for ages (not an actual incentive). Of course something gives along the way. Of all the searching around I've done on this (after being puzzled by this piece), only a few sources, like the Detroit News, didn't completely rewrite a press release and explained that one of the underlying motives is to restock used-car inventories. These cars won't be scrapped or recycled, so the parallels to CARS are bogus. These clunkers will just end up on the used-car lot, marked up, you won't get much better of a deal in the end, and you'll have a car payment.
     
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