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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


With Nano coming to U.S., could Cash for Clunkers make it free?

If the proposed “Cash for Clunkers” plan were to pass, it sure seems possible that Americans could potentially trade their clunker straight across for the 55 mpg Tata Nano, the world's cheapest car. 

All they would have to do is receive little more than $2,000 of the rebate Cash for Clunkers would provide to acquire the Nano, which is now being redesigned to meet U.S. emission and crash test standards for stateside release in roughly three years. 

The clunkers plan, now being referred to as the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save bill, or CARS act, would offer up to $5,000 in rebates to people willing to trade in a car at least eight-years old for a new vehicle priced under $35,000 that gets better than 24 mpg. 

Under this premise, the Nano, priced well under three grand could be purchased for no cost to clunker owners that qualify for up to a $5,000 rebate. That is of course, if the CARS act passes. 

While there is an added $1,000 incentive to buy a domestic car versus an import in the current version of the CARS act, I don’t believe it is a requirement to purchase an American made car with the rebate just yet. 

I keep thinking there must be some stipulation in the bill to make such a wondrous transaction impossible; it just seems too good to be true.

Also, because it seems too potentially damaging to the U.S. auto industry; if the CARS act passes as it is, American auto makers could take a major hit if people had the option to receive a free Nano versus a domestic car, or even opted to buy any other imported car with their clunker rebate. 

The CARS act has come under fire because of this and could be shot done because of it. We'll have to wait and see. For now, it would seem that many of us could be qualified for a free ultra-efficient car in a couple of years.

What do you think? Am I missing something here?


The Seattle Times, Tuesday, March 24, 2009. “World’s Cheapest New Car.” Business A8.


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