The Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act (CARS), or Cash for Clunkers program, allows US residents to get a $3,500 or $4,500 credit toward the purchase of a new, more fuel efficient vehicle when trading in their existing vehicle.
The hugely popular program exhausted it's $1 billion appropriation in less than a week and the government acted quickly to provide an additional $2 billion to the program.
Although there are several qualifying factors for a "clunker," Edmunds.com Senior Consumer Advice Editor Philip Reed says “dealers are enjoying a 20 percent increase in gross profit per sale involving a clunker trade-in since the program launched.”
Click ahead to see the most popular trade-ins and new vehicles purchased under the CARS program, according to the Transportaton Dept.
(*Data on vehicles provided by Edmunds.com*)
By Oliver Quillia
Posted 8 August 2009
Introduced in the mid-1990s, the front-wheel-drive Ford Windstar minivan's reputation for reliability was notably poorer than some competitors, particularly those from Honda and Toyota.
Eligible vehicles for this model range from 1990-1999. See the list here.
Eligible models for the CARS program fall into the 1990-2002 make years.
This was one of the most popular SUVs for decades. Chevy continued to produce full-size, two-door Blazers through 1994, after which it rechristened them to the now-current Tahoe name.
Mostly utilitarian in nature and with more style than a station wagon or minivan, Ford's midsize creation was perfectly timed for the SUV boom that began in the early 1990s. During much of that period, Ford sold more than 400,000 units a year.
Dodge's minivan was the first to market with the sliding door, while pioneering the integration of safety features like airbags. The Caravan, along with its relative, the Grand Caravan, was the top-selling minivan for many years.
With a near 20-year production run, the Cherokee was discontinued with the introduction of the Liberty.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee was one of the pioneering SUVs that ushered in the modern midsize SUV segment in the early 1990s. When it debuted, the vehicle represented a bigger and better version of Jeep's smaller but still popular Cherokee.
The F-150 line has been the best selling truck in the country for more than two decades.
Once a top seller in the late 1990's, Ford's Explorer series holds six of the top ten spots on the DOT's list of top vehicle trade-ins.
1. 1998 Ford Explorer (14-17 mpg)
2. 1997 Ford Explorer (14-18 mpg)
3. 1996 Ford Explorer (14-18 mpg)
4. 1999 Ford Explorer (14-18 mpg)
7. 1995 Ford Explorer (15-18 mpg)
8. 1994 Ford Explorer (15-18 mpg)
Now onto the top 10 vehicles purchased after trading in a "clunker" through the CARS program.
The Chevrolet Cobalt is available as a coupe or sedan and comes in three trim levels: LS, LT and SS.
The Cobalt LS Coupe has an EPA est. 37 MPG hwy.
From $14,990 (Based on current model)
Redesigned for the 2009 model year, the Honda Fit is available in two main trims levels: base and Sport.
The Honda Fit (Base-Auto) has an EPA est. 31 MPG hwy.
From $14,750 (Based on current model)
The Caliber comes in three regular trims -- base SE, SXT and R/T -- along with a high-performance SRT4 variant.
The Caliber SE has an EPA est. 27 MPG hwy.
From $16,460 (Based on current model)
The Escape is available in one four-door body style with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Three trim levels are offered: XLS, XLT and Limited.
The Escape XLS has an EPA est. 27 MPG hwy.
From $20,515 (Based on current model)
The Hyundai Elantra is a small sedan available in GLS and SE trim levels.
The Elantra GLS has an EPA est. 28 MPG hwy.
From $14,120 (Based on current model)
Four traditional Camry trim levels are offered: Base, LE, SE and XLE.
A gas-electric hybrid Camry is also available and, along with 192 hp, it offers EPA estimates of 33 mpg city and 34 mpg highway.
From $19,395 (Based on current model)
The Toyota Prius was completely redesigned for 2010. The car's hybrid powertrain consists of a 1.8-liter gasoline engine that produces 98 horsepower and 105 pound-feet of torque.
The Prius has an EPA est. 50 MPG hwy.
From $22,000 (Based on current model)
The current Civic is available as a coupe or sedan.
The Hybrid comes exclusively with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and its EPA-estimated fuel economy is 40 mpg city and 45 mpg highway.
From $15,305 (Based on current model)
The Focus is currently available as a coupe and as a sedan. The four-door is available in S, SE, SES and SEL trim levels, while the coupe comes as the SE and SES.
All models have an EPA est. 28 MPG hwy.
From $15,995 (Based on current model)
Now in its tenth generation, the compact Toyota Corolla is not only the best-selling nameplate in automotive history, but it's the top-selling vehicle through the CARS program.
The Toyota Corolla small sedan is available in five trim levels: base, LE, S, XLE and XRS.
The Base model has an EPA est. 30 MPG hwy.
From $15,350 (Based on current model)