Cash for Clunkers Says Goodbye Tonight

by Benjamin Jones on July 31, 2009

Old plymouth clunkers

It seems the popular CARS program, which was designed to run out when its $950 million funding ran out is almost out of money. The decision to suspend the program will probably come as a surprise to many consumers who were being more careful about thinking over their purchase, but evidently it is a result of the slow turnover from dealerships to the government in processing rebates.

The government has only processed about $100 million in rebates thus far, but it expects that a far greater amount have already been handed out by dealerships, perhaps already exceeding the government funding. The problem is a slow rebate turnover between the dealerships and the government.

As of right now the program is only being suspended. Once the government knows exactly how much money it has spent and whether or not it can get more funding for the program it will decide whether to completely end or re-start the rebate program.

The program was originally supposed to run until November 1st, but it’s clear now that that won’t be happening. This will probably disappoint a lot of people hoping to trade in their clunkers, but hopefully the situation is not as dire as it currently seems.

Source: ABG

Popularity: 10% [?]

{ 5 comments }

1 Christ July 31, 2009 at 9:43 am

AFAIC – It’s the dealer’s fault. If they’re processing paperwork and they fall outside some arbitrary time limit for doing so, but they’ve already handed out the rebate, it should be on them.

In other words, they (gubmint) should have set a limit on how long the dealer had from the time of the rebate to file the paperwork for reimbursement of it. Something like 10 days, so that when the dealer “misplaced” the paperwork, they just screwed themselves, and not the American Taxpayer.

I’m already slightly disgusted by the program as a whole, though I see a pertinence to it, as oppposed to other programs that our US Government has passed and discussed in the past and present. The fact that they can’t keep the program “running smoothly” (as opposed to most of the cars they’re targeting for it), is just more mud in the face of an obviously waning empire.

2 Benjamin Jones July 31, 2009 at 9:46 am

As the government tells the story, it was the dealers who alerted the government they might be overspending the money, or at least spending it lots faster than usual. I don’t blame them so much because, after all, paper work takes time and they seem way to busy as it is with all the people trading in junk

3 McTimson July 31, 2009 at 4:09 pm

With $1 billion, at $4500/car, the government can give out about 220,000 rebates. There are roughly 20,000 dealerships in the US right now. That means each dealership can give out 11 rebates, if every dealer was allocated an even amount. There’s no way it could have possibly gone until November, at least not without more money to give out.

I don’t get why they needed to wait for paperwork to be filled out – it’s 2009. They can’t set up some website for dealers to log in to and record their rebates? Even if it’s not an official record, at least it would give them an idea of how fast the money is being used, instead of waiting for the dealers to mail all their stuff in.

4 Christ July 31, 2009 at 4:42 pm

Agree with McTimson on the website thing. This is the 21st century, right? I thought so. Email, even?

5 Rob August 2, 2009 at 11:46 am

That’s a wonderful picture of the Plymouth!

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