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Top 10 Cars to Avoid if You Don't Have a Cash for Clunkers Trade-In

August 6, 2009

With the huge success of the "cash for clunkers" program, the NHTSA has a total of over 150,000 dealer transactions reported so far.

As expected, small and midsized sedans are the most popular cars that are being purchased under the program. Here is the list of the top 10 "cash for clunkers" purchases so far:

  1. Ford Focus
  2. Toyota Corolla
  3. Honda Civic
  4. Toyota Prius
  5. Toyota Camry
  6. Ford Escape FWD
  7. Hyundai Elantra
  8. Dodge Caliber
  9. Honda Fit
  10. Chevrolet Cobalt

If you don't have a trade-in that qualifies for the "cash for clunkers" program, your best bet may be to hold off buying one of these popular models until after the program has ended.

Demand for these vehicles has shot up and dealers are in no mood to negotiate when there are tons of buyers clamoring for the same thing. Remember, supply and demand is one of the most important factors when it comes to the price of the car.

After the program ends, demand for these vehicles will go back down and dealers will once again be willing to make some great deals. Yes, you have to wait a couple of months, but the savings will probably be worth it.

It doesn't make sense to compete with buyers coming into the showroom with a $4,500 voucher from the government. It's not the same playing field, so don't short-change yourself.

My Recommendation for Car Shoppers

TrueCar, Edmunds, and 1-800 Car Show are the quickest way to see the lowest car prices in your area. These sites show you no-haggle prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually really good. This should be the first step you take when negotiating your car price. Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.

California Residents - Important:

There is a new online car buying service called Roadster, available only to California residents, which I highly recommend you try - especially if you hate the stress of haggling with a car salesman. They provide an expert concierge who negotiates the price of the car and delivers it to your home with zero hassle - you never have to interact with a dealership. Here is my in-depth review of Roadster and why I recommend it.

- Gregg Fidan

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Gregg Fidan

About: Gregg Fidan

Gregg Fidan + is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.

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