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CARS registration underway; authorized transactions begin July 27

November 15, 2010

Registration for dealers to participate in the so-called "cash for clunkers" program began July 24, one month after the measure became law. The U.S. Transportations Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration spent the interim developing regulations for the program.

Full details were to be released July 24, after this newsletter’s deadline.

The Car Allowance Rebate System, or CARS, which the U.S. government favors over the program’s "clunkers" nickname, established an official Web site,, with basic information about the program.

Consumers who trade in an eligible vehicle would receive $3,500 or $4,500 credit toward purchasing or leasing a new eligible vehicle. An eligible lease is for 60 months or longer.

The NHTSA on July 17 mailed letters with a unique Authorization Code to all franchised new-car dealers. The Authorization Code allows the dealership to complete its registration. Dealerships identified by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) as having multiple franchises must register each franchise at

Dealers who want to participate in CARS but who have not received a letter from the NHTSA should contact their OEM directly. The NHTSA will send authorization letters only to those dealers forwarded by the OEMs as franchised to sell their vehicles.

Dealers whose NHTSA letters contained errors like franchise misidentification must contact their manufacturers, to have corrected information submitted to the government.


Cash for Clunkers eligibility chart.

CARS ad guidelines


The NHTSA will permit the CARS logo to be used in advertisements (print, Web or television) if several caveats are met:

1. The logo is displayed in immediate proximity to a description of the program — and not so it is associated generally with the contents of the entire advertisement.


2. The user makes no alterations to the CARS logo, which includes the Internet address.


3. Each advertisement using the CARS logo displays the following required statement (which may appear as a pop-up during mouse-over on the Web):


"CARS is a program of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("


4. Advertisements do not include quotes from the NHTSA Administrator or any other federal employee.


Obtaining CARS logo


Any advertisement or television spot using the CARS logo must be submitted for and receive advance approval by the NHTSA Office of Consumer Information. NHTSA review will take one or two business days after submission. After the NHTSA reviews and approves the proposed use of the CARS logo, the agency will provide the CARS logo to the user. Advertisements that do not use the CARS logo do not need to be submitted for approval.