Even More Clunker Confusion: Gray Market Madness

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

“We’ve gotten thousands of thousands of questions regarding issues that Congress never dreamed of,” admit NHTSA spokesfolk to the NY Times. Say it ain’t so! The latest clunker stumper is the issue of gray market imports, which do not have official EPA ratings. When the Gray Lady’s Christine Negroni asked NHTSA if her gray market 1985 Mercedes 230E would qualify for a CARS rebate, the answer was likely accompanied by a heavy sigh. “It’s a question of determining if there’s a comparable model being sold in the U.S. that can determine fuel economy,” explains NHTSA’s Rae Tyson. “Our lawyers are going to have to make a decision.” Meanwhile questions like this have flooded the CARS hotline with some 45,000 calls. Not that calling the hotline would help with the gray market question. “If the question has stumped me, it’s going to stump the hot line too,” says Tyson. “It’s going to require an interpretation that we’re not equipped to make right now.”

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

More by Edward Niedermeyer

Join the conversation
4 of 14 comments
  • Andy D Andy D on Jul 30, 2009

    most grey mkt BMWs are worth more than their US counterparts. To old school BMW enthusiasts to cash one in is heresy.

  • Herb Herb on Jul 30, 2009

    Re: Autojunkie: How can you "skirt the laws" by importing cars by yourself? Are there any laws prescribing which car you can have? Has importing cars been banned by law? Are there laws that force you to buy a car at an "official dealership"?

  • Andy D Andy D on Jul 30, 2009

    Grey mkt cars have to be "federalized" if they are less than 25 yrs old. It is an expensve process and often hacked.

  • Jordan Tenenbaum Jordan Tenenbaum on Jul 31, 2009

    Jesus Christ, who the eff would scrap a gray market car? This program needs to go away. Now.