CARS, the Car Allowance Rebate System, is the economy's best story in six months, and we at DOT are thrilled to be a part of it. It has been a lifeline for the automobile industry and wildly popular with consumers--it has been good news. In fact, it has been such good news that we will soon use up the money available for this. That's why we will wind down the CARS program this Monday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
In the first 4 days of the program, CARS racked up over 250,000 new car sales. Altogether, dealers have submitted reimbursement requests for more than $1.9 billion, representing over 457,000 transactions. By any measure, those figures indicate success.
Both Ford and GM have announced they are stepping up production to meet the new demand this Administration has stimulated. Ford is adding shifts to what was supposed to be a shutdown week; GM is calling back over 1300 employees. Can you imagine? In this economy, an automobile manufacturer is calling back its workers. And a recent forecast for the economy's 3rd quarter by IHS Global Insight anticipates growth of 2.5%, almost all of it due to our CARS program. We have helped jump-start the economy.
Now, thanks to this success, it's time to bring the program to a close. Because we expect to use up the remainder of the $3 billion Congress set aside by the end of this weekend, the CARS program will end this Monday at 8:00 p.m.
As I said, we are thrilled to be a part of this economic good news story. And I want to thank the dealers for participating, the auto companies for taking steps to meet demand, and consumers for responding so heartily. Finally, I want to thank the CARS team at NHTSA for helping make this such a success. Thanks to them, this program has worked.