"Cash for Clunkers" Works a Little Too Well

By Randy McIlwain
|  Saturday, Aug 1, 2009  |  Updated 1:20 PM CDT
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Confusion Over Cars for Clunkers

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Who knew all it really need was one huge government subsidized sale to convince buyers the time is right for a new car?

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"Cash for Clunkers" Works a Little Too Well

For months now, America?s auto industry has been the poster child of a poor economy -- bankruptcy, bailouts and bust. Who knew all it really need was one huge government subsidized sale to convince buyers the time is right for a new car?
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For months now, America’s auto industry has been the poster child of a poor economy -- bankruptcy, bailouts and bust. Who knew all it really need was one huge government subsidized sale to convince buyers the time is right for a new car?

That’s what the Cash for Clunkers program has done -- and it got Jennifer Rippel of Celina to buy.

“I was going to wait until next week but the money's running out,” said Rippel.
 
$1 billion dollars -- that’s how much the federal government originally committed to the program. The goal is to get people to trade in their older, less fuel efficient cars for newer, more efficient ones with dealers offering up to $4500 dollars in rebates subsidized by the government.

The billion dollar subsidy was supposed to last until November 1st, but it's barley lasted a week as tens of thousands of people flocked to dealerships looking to upgrade their ride.

“It's created a little buying frenzy,” said Roger Williams, General Manager of Stanley Chevrolet in Celina.

Another problem is the Government's condition on the rebate -- the customer’s trade-in must be destroyed before the dealership is reimbursed. If the program runs out of cash and the trade-in is destroyed, it’s dealer’s eating the cost.

“I want to make sure the government is going to pay me for these vehicles,” said Williams.
 
The House of Representatives has already moved to approve and additional $2 billion dollars for the "Cash for Clunkers" program. Lawmakers are not about to turn their backs on the best thing to happen to the auto industry since the federal bailout. Plus, for the first time in months, dealerships aren’t so concerned about the number of cars they’re selling but simply having enough inventory to sell.

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