Whitmer pitches vehicle rebate program that offers car buyers thousands in savings

Michigan drivers would save thousands of dollars when they purchase a new car or truck under a state tax rebate proposal announced Wednesday.

The proposal offers between $1,000 and $2,500 on electric, hybrid, and traditional gas-powered vehicles in Michigan. The governor announced the MI Vehicle Rebate in a news release, with the savings being offered to car and truck buyers under four categories.

The program still needs to be funded, with the governor expected to ask the legislature for $25 million. She'll do so at the State of the State address next year.

The four categories the proposed rebate would be applicable under include:

  • $2,500 on a new battery electric or hybrid vehicle manufactured in a facility where the workers are represented by an automotive union.
  • $2,000 on a new battery electric or hybrid vehicle.
  • $1,500 on a new internal combustion vehicle in a facility where the workers are represented by an automotive union.
  • $1,000 on all other new internal combustion vehicles

Gretchen Whitmer pitched the rebate proposal as a way for buyers to save up to $10,000 on a new vehicle when combined with the $7,500 incentive offered by the federal government.

If approved, the state tax rebate would be applied to the final price of the vehicle when it's purchased. The dealership selling the vehicle would contact the Department of Treasury to receive the voucher. 

WWJ Automotive reporter Jeff Gilbert said he has not seen a state-level rebate program like this before.

"She posed it as a post-strike incentive for the entire auto industry," Gilbert said. "So the biggest incentives, obviously, going to electrification because those vehicles are more expensive and the other part of it is a boost to unionized carmakers, which tend to be the ones that are operating in Michigan."