WASHINGTON (Aug. 25, 2009)—The U.S. Department of Transportation gave U.S. auto dealers an additional 24 hours to submit their transaction claims under the Car Allowance Rebate System program. The deadline is now 8 p.m. tonight, rather than last night as originally planned.
The CARS program, known popularly as “Cash for Clunkers,” gave consumers a voucher of either $3,500 or $4,500 for trading in vehicles that obtained 18 mpg or less for new, more fuel-efficient vehicles. Problems with DOT's CARS Web site, which crashed a number of times under the deluge of dealer claims, necessitated the deadline extension, the agency said.
The $3 billion program was praised for giving sluggish U.S. car sales a shot in the arm. IBISWorld, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based auto industry research firm, estimated the CARS program boosted projected vehicle sales for 2009 by 700,000, to 10.5 million from 9.8 million. The higher figure, however, was still 20.5 percent lower than 2008's auto sales figures, the company said.