Cash For Clunkers Program 2009 | Over Before You Know It?

If you can afford it in the first place

Car wrecked while it was parked

Does this qualify as drivable? (Photo: Flickr)

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the idea of the Cash For Clunkers Program 2009. However, I simply don’t see it being sufficient to help many of the consumers that have been holding on to older, less fuel efficient vehicles. There’s typically a reason they hold on to their old cars, people: they can’t afford new ones. If you think $3,500 (only some receive the federal maximum of $4,500)  is enough to make expensive new fuel efficient cars affordable, you haven’t been car shopping lately. A payday loan or cash advancemay help with a down payment, but what can you do about the monthly payments?

Nevertheless, Americans still appear eager to buy cars they can’t afford. Good work, Cash For Clunkers program 2009!

A clunker of a program

Brent Snavely reports for the Detroit Free Press at that Cash for Clunkers has increased the overall excitement about car buying, if the crowds in showrooms are any indication. Sure, there are questions about how long this ride will last and whether the program is too complicated for its own good. Plus, it’s uncertain so far just how many new car sales have come from the Cash for Clunkers program 2009.

One of the things we know from the 136-page outline of the plan is that the program will last until November 1 or until the $1 billion Congress allotted the Cash for Clunkers program 2009 disappears. There are also very specific regulations for dealers in terms of how they must disable the engines of old vehicles, but the dealers are still hopeful that the program’s overall impact will be to boost sagging sales.

But it’s like I said… new cars are still too expensive

Yet Snavely did manage to find at least one person who is in a position to buy, thanks to Cash for Clunkers program 2009. Dennis Wagner is eligible for at least the standard $3,500 voucher if he turns in his 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis. Dealers were only going to give him $1,000, although this is likely because he was asking the wrong dealers. If you do your homework, you’ll find dealers who offer special promotions that extend the Cash for Clunkers program to the used cars in their inventory. Talk about getting a better deal!

Speaking of a better deal

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Whether you call it Cash For Clunkers program 2009 or the official title – Car Allowance Rebate System, or CARS – people are interested to see if they qualify. To review, Cash for Clunkers program 2009 provides vouchers through registered dealerships. Consumers who are replacing a car or truck less than 25 years old that gets fewer than 18 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving.

“I believe we have better than 70 pending deals on it right now,” said Bill Demmer, a dealership owner in the Detroit area to the Free Press.

Yet many dealers aren’t as hopeful

The Obama administration sees Cash for Clunkers program 2009 as a means or getting more fuel-efficient vehicles on the road and jump starting the sagging automobile industry in America. Yet there are scores of dealers who doubt the effectiveness of this convoluted program.

Specifically, some refer to some last-minute updates the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency made to federal fuel economy data. This change effects approximately 100 vehicles that would have previously been eligible for the program. The EPA upped the miles per gallon of these vehicles, making them ineligible. A fine way to frustrate an already downtrodden consumer base, this is.

We don’t want no stinkin’ disabled!

Here’s a cost issue that dealers have to take into account: the Cash for Clunkers program 2009 requires that with all cars they take in trade, the engine and transmission must be disabled and taken to a junkyard. Obama doesn’t want these things to make it back out onto the streets with their high emissions and low miles per gallon ratings.

Yet it seems that not all junkyards want disabled stuff.

“We finally got a hold of a junkyard willing to take the disabled engines and transmissions,” said Bill Golling, owner of a Bloomfield Hills dealership.

And registration is tough


Here’s something that comes as no surprise to me: it’s difficult to register for the Cash for Clunkers program 2009 through the government Web portal. What a shocker! Some dealers have applied, but are still awaiting a confirmation E-mail.

But again, that hasn’t stopped some people from going after the new vehicle of their dreams. Unfortunately for people like Tom and Ann Morabito, they dream of the Ford Taurus. Sure, it’s a 2009 Taurus, but it’s still a Taurus. They are geared up to swap their 1997 Ford Aerostar minivan. They no longer need the extra passenger room because their children are grown. Tom Morabito told the Free Press that he wants a 2010 Taurus (as if that will be better), but they won’t be available for a few weeks. He’s worried the Cash for Clunkers program 2009 will be out of cash by then.

A long way to go

As of the day before I write this, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had processed 70 vouchers. That’s nationwide, apparently. Obama hopes that the Cash for Clunkers program 2009 will aid in around 250,000 transactions.

“We would certainly dearly love to see the program be a huge success, but we don’t see the money running out. We’ve got $1 billion,” said NHTSA spokesman Ray Tyson.

Will you run out of money for a down payment? Try a payday loan or cash advance if you need it to bridge the way until your next paycheck!

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