The CAR Allowance Rebate System (CARS) is a $1 billion government program that helps consumers buy or lease a more environmentally-friendly vehicle from a participating dealer when they trade in a less fuel-efficient car or truck. The program is designed to energize the economy; boost auto sales and put safer, cleaner and more fuel-efficient vehicles on the nation’s roadways.
Consumers will be able to take advantage of this program and receive a $3,500 or $4,500 discount from the car dealer when they trade in their old vehicle and purchase or lease a new one. Consumers you do not need to register anywhere or at anytime for this program. However, to find out eligibility requirements click here.
What is NHTSA doing to guard against fraud? Allegations of fraud may be reported by calling our toll-free 24-hour hotline at 1-800-424-9071.
Consumer Bill of Rights
Qualified consumers may participate in the CARS Program between July 1, 2009 and November 1, 2009 or when authorized funds are no longer available.
Qualified consumers will receive a credit of $3,500 or $4,500 for an eligible trade-in toward the purchase of lease of an approved vehicle under CARS Program.
Qualified consumers will receive the $3,500 or $4,500 credit at the time the purchase their new vehicle.
Dealers must provide consumers with any other advertised rebates or discounts in addition to the credit they receive through the CARS Program.
Consumers should expect to conduct their deals at their dealership of choice, not on the Internet.
Consumers should expect the dealers to provide their best estimate of the scrap value for their eligible trade-in vehicle. Dealers are allowed to deduct $50 from this value for their administrative costs.
Consumers should expect that all information collected through the CARS Program will be kept confidential. Social Security numbers are not required for a CARS transaction.
The agency amended its rule implementing the CARS program. Dealers may now choose to disable the engine of the trade-in vehicle after they receive payment from the government for the credit (not more than seven calendar days after payment). However, until the vehicle’s engine is disabled, the dealer must store the vehicle at a location under the control of the dealership.
In addition, because New Hampshire and Wisconsin do not have an insurance requirement under State law, trade-in vehicles registered in these two States are exempt from the one-year insurance requirement.