WASHINGTON (July 27, 2009)—U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood officially kicked off the “Car Allowance Rebate System”, more commonly known as CARS or “Cash for Clunkers,” at a ceremony at DOT headquarters.
“With this program, we are giving the auto industry a shot in the arm, and struggling consumers can get rid of their gas guzzlers and buy a more reliable, fuel-efficient vehicle,” LaHood said at the ceremony.
law passed by Congress earlier this year, the program gives motorists a discount of either $3,500 or $4,500 for trading in their old cars and light trucks for new, more fuel-efficient vehicles. NHTSA estimates CARS will scrap some 250,000 vehicles before the program ends Nov. 1.
The Big Three auto makers have responded enthusiastically to the program, with auto companies such as Chrysler L.L.C. even offering to double the federal discount. The auto aftermarket fears the program will end up scrapping vehicles and parts needed by independent auto repairers and auto hobbyists. However, the aftermarket praised the exemptions Congress gave to vehicles 25 years old or older and the provision to allow drive train parts from junked vehicles to be sold separately.