LOS ANGELES -- Hyundai is getting an early start on the government's cash-for-clunkers program, which pays people to scrap their old cars and buy new, fuel-efficient ones.
Though the program rules won't be issued for another 10 days or so, Hyundai will front dealers the cash rebates until the government starts its electronic payment system.
Under the current program, a consumer will be eligible for a $3,500 credit if the vehicle he or she trades in gets 18 mpg or less and the new one is rated at least 4 mpg higher for a car and 2 mpg higher for a light truck. For a $4,500 credit, the improvement must be at least 10 mpg for a car and at least 5 mpg for a light truck.
Hyundai will advance dealers $4,000 for each clunker deal they close, said Dave Zuchowski, vice president of sales for Hyundai Motor America. He said dealers must reimburse Hyundai after they receive their government payments.
Hyundai is moving ahead even though the U.S. Transportation Department and the National Automobile Dealers Association are urging dealers to wait for the final rules.