Phone: 630-495-2282 Fax: 630-495-2260 Map/Directions

Some headaches in final push for CARS approvals

November 15, 2010

Flawlessly designed programs likely would not have positioned the "update" command right next to the "cancel" command, which can reduce a CARS transaction to one for the heavens.

Dealers reported that and other frustrations during a 10th and likely final CARS Webinar hosted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Sept. 9.

Frank Borris, who oversees the Car Allowance Rebate System program for NHTSA, said his agency was aware of the "cancel" problem, but it probably would not be fixed before the final CARS transactions are settled.

"A solution may seem simple," he said. "But the system was developed quickly. And on a site that sees heavy activity 24 hours a day, it’s tough to install a correction without interruption."

Borris said dealers who mistakenly cancelled a transaction while updating it should send an e-mail to Screen-captures help, he added.

Some dealers said that CARS Help staff erroneously told them to push "cancel" when a dealer merely wanted to self-reject an application.

NHTSA indicated it would not deny dealers repayment because of a keystroke error. Dealers should document each situation and send it to the 9-AMC-NHTSA-CARS-AP-SUPPLIER@FAA.GOV email address.  Other final concerns:

Stolen Clunkers – Apparently, clunkers make an attractive target for thieves, and some dealers have reported clunkers being stolen from their lots before they aredisabled.  NHTSA said dealers should file a police report, for enforcement concerns. But the vehicle’s VIN now represents a junked auto, so a thief would have a problem trying to register it.

Returning Clunkers Money – There have been a few instances in which dealers have been reimbursed but the deal had to be unwound. To return Clunkers money, send a check (along with a relevant explanation) to DOT/NHTSA/CARS, c/o ESC, AMZ-300, P.O. BOX 268911, OKLAHOMA CITY, OK 73125-8911.

New Disposal Facility Certification Forms – NHTSA recently released new versions of the Disposal Facility Certification form and the Salvage Auction form.  The new versions are in an electronic format and are "fillable" PDF forms. The forms can be found at

It is acceptable to use a disposal facility other than the one identified on on the transaction, as long as the new facility is on the list of registered facilities.

In a Sept. 16 statement, the National Automobile Dealers Association called the CARS program "the most effective piece of the government’s economic stimulus" and commended NHTSA for accelerating payments to dealers.

"Dealers across the country," the NADA wrote, "are reporting that they experienced one of the busiest summers in recent memory thanks to the boost in sales prompted by the clunkers program."

Said NADA Chairman John McEleney, "There’s no question that this program was a boon to consumers, to automobile dealers and to the workers who build cars and trucks."

The program also removed nearly 700,000 older vehicles from the roads.