Dealers Create Own Private Stimulus Plan

AutoStimulus Picking up where the government’s Cash for Clunkers program leaves off, a group of car and truck dealers from across the country have joined forces to create their own incentive plan for customers who don’t quite qualify for the Car Allowance Rebate System.

Only about 10% to 15% of car owners qualify for CARS, which is why 40 dealers and counting have formed the Automotive Stimulus Plan to catch customers who miss out on the government’s plan. The innovative program allows any car owner to trade in his or her car for a more fuel-efficient vehicle and enjoy a significant bonus on the old car’s trade-in value.

Unlike the CARS program, which requires specific mileage improvements in order to qualify for a $3,500 or $4,500 credit, the dealer stimulus plan can be applied to almost any old vehicle. The plan offers owners a bonus between $500 and $4,500 depending on the value of the old car and the improvement in fuel efficiency for whatever vehicle they buy.

For instance, a fuel economy improvement of 2 mpg will yield a 10% bonus on a vehicle’s trade-in value, while a 5 mpg improvement nets a 20% bonus. So if you trade in a car worth $10,000 and buy a car with a combined EPA rating that’s 5 mpg better, the trade-in value would rise to $12,000.

The plan obviously benefits consumers, as any car is eligible, and it helps dealers as well. Rather than destroying the used cars, dealers will be positioned to beef up their depleted used car and truck inventories. The drop in car sales over the past year has led dealers to pay higher prices for used vehicles, which are always popular with customers.

The deal applies to both new and used cars and runs through Nov. 1. The car being traded in must be a 2006 model or older and must have been registered to the owner for at least six months. You can visit the group’s website at

Dealers Push New Program to Boost Trade-In Values (Detroit News)



I love that dealers are capitalizing on the current demand. This program is great as it hits used cars, something most dealers have a lot of while their new car inventory is light. Clever :)

This is a great idea. I didn't qualify for the governments program and i don't think it is fair to use tax payer money to benefit a minority of the public. I have a car that gets 22 mpg but i want to get a new car with 34 miles per gallon, which is a 12mpg improvement but i did not qualify because my current vehicles mpg was above 18mpg. That does not make sense. I wanted to improve my mpg by 12mpg, which is alot higher than the avg improvement that consumers who qualify are getting, but the rules said i was not eligible. This program makes alot more sense because there is no minimum mpg requirement.


Sorry, but nothing beats government giving you $4.5K for junker with 200k miles.

Now, I can bring my $1000, 160K, 28 mpg Protege to the dealer...
In dealer's view it only worth $500 and it is hard to buy something substantially more efficient. So, lets say I am good for 20%. WOW. I'll get $100 from the dealer!

Sorry. It is much better to get fellow taxpayer's money. But unfortunately they wouldn't qualify my car. Hey, It can go for a year or two more. May be in a year, the sales will hit "post CARS" slump and dealers ill be kind again and will negotiate better.

Does this program allow you to do a 3 year lease? Honda has a great program for 3 years but the government program doesnt allow leasing, unless it is a 5 year lease. 5 year leases are terrible because you pay for 5 years and still owe alot at the end. It is good that the dealer program works with used cars because new car payments arent cheap, unless you can lease it

ana baena

My car is worth almost $20,000 according to NADA's Used Car guide (which is what the dealer i called said they are using for the program) and my new car will get more than 5mpg so i qualify for a 20% trade-in credit, which is $4,000. According to the dealer, i am going to get $24,000 for my car that is worth $20,000. I also made sure they gave me the manufacturer rebate on top of that. As a result, my payment is $139 a month and i should save about $1,000 a year in gas. Its alot better than the government program for me because i didn't qualify. I guess if my car was only worth $500 and i qualified to get $4500 that would make more sense but thats not the case so i will have to settle for my $4000 trade credit instead. The government should contribute something to people like me who get a new car that has 12mpg better fuel economy.


I love this idea. I dont know why dealers have not already created a simple program like this where everyone gets the same fair treatment. I did not qualify for the government program and now would consider upgrading to a better car.

Troy S.

Why can't dealers simply lower the cost of cars to the same price people are getting with the Clunker money? That way, people who wouldn't benfit from CARS or the dealer version of CARS would be able to benefit as well.

For working trucks the rule is not based on the fuel efficieny. As long as it is manufactured before 2001 they all qualify
but cannot be older than 25 years old..


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