"Cash for Clunkers" Re-Fueled

July 31, 2009 11:46:50 PM PDT
Lawmakers in the house approved an emergency two billion dollars, aimed at keeping the "Cash for Clunkers" program running through the weekend. The cash infusion isn't doing much to calm the nerves of dealers, who fear the money may run out again.The cash for clunkers plan was in doubt last night ... then revived today. But there are so many questions about the funding, it's not clear how many dealers will take part over the weekend.

It's been the one government stimulus program that's shown results. "We've had the best month in over a year this month."

With the government offering to pay dealers from 35 hundred to 45 hundred dollars for each car traded in dealers are accumulating a lot of clunkers and selling a lot of cars to customers who couldn't afford a new car.

John Fox traded his 1996 Ford Thunderbird with 160 thousand miles on it for a brand new Ford Ranger pickup. He got four-thousand for a car he figures was worth, maybe a thousand or 15-hundred.

Fox said, "It's a good deal. It's getting money going for everybody."

But, how long will it last?

"Does it happen at midnight tonight. Is it through the weekend? We really don't know," said James Cagle.

The Federal Government has told dealers it will honor sales at least through Sunday. But the Senate has yet to vote on the two-billion dollars approved by the House, and some dealers fear they'll be stuck. Despite the risk, Fresno Chrysler plans to keep giving the government rebates, and in fact is doubling them on some cars.

Shafi Shirzad said, "For example, if a customer walked into my showroom to buy a PT Cruiser tonight, they can get up to nine-thousand dollars reduction on price."

While some dealers are hesitating, Chrysler is prepared to keep going and offering double the money on the cash for clunkers program through the weekend at least.

Shafi Shirzad said, "We're hoping for a gigantic weekend, our salespeople are ready."

In addition to spurring car sales cash for clunkers is supposed to put cleaner, more fuel efficient cars on the road.

The cars we've seen traded in average 15 years old, with more than 150 thousand miles. If you've got a car that qualifies as a clunker that you want to trade in this weekend, call the dealers first to see which ones are participating many won't know until Saturday.

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