No More Fill Ups For Clunkers in the Valley

August 23, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The popular Cash for Clunkers program officially runs out of gas Monday. As of Friday, it had generated more than 489,000 car sales, and dealers had claimed $2 billion in rebates. But one local dealer has already stopped the program on his lot, even with another day to go.One Lexus ES 300 has over 130,000 miles on it. Another Ford Ranger, 210,000 miles. But a '88 Lincoln Town Car blazes a trail past the competition in this lot with nearly half a million miles on it!

They all qualify as trade-ins under the government's Cash for Clunkers rebate program.

"It's been a good thing for us. It's been a good thing for the community. We've sold a lot of cars," said Future Ford sales manager Jose Sanchez.

90 cars were purchased by Valley drivers at Future Ford. Across the street at Hedricks Chevrolet, 50. But after three weeks the government is putting the breaks on funding for this $3-billion program Monday.

Sales manager Brian Loyd beat them to the wheel...two days early. "We had such a big turn out on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, I had to stop it." Loyd was worried he would not have enough time to access the government's website to submit his claims. "It kicked me out four times and finally the fifth time I got it. you know, an hour and a half later, just to submit one car deal."

Sanchez: "That's a lot of the dealers fears right now is that the website is going to crash." Sanchez said all his claims have been submitted but these dealers have another worry. They don't know when they'll receive payment from the government.

There are about 90 in the back lot. Sanchez said they were worth about $360. And he hasn't been reimbursed for a single one. "Not one dollar" exclaimed the sales manager.

That's pretty much the same story at Lithia Dodge in North Fresno.

With more than 15 clunkers in the back lot mangers can at least claim reimbursement on one of them. Hedricks can too.

Loyd: "Hopefully they'll hurry up and start paying us so we can get rid of some of these cars."

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