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Cash for Clunkers gives boost to local car dealers

By Scott Harvey

– The Cash for Clunkers program seems to have the support of local car buyers and sellers, as dealerships across the region are showing fewer cars on the lot.

Wyman Williams with Williams Motors in Commerce says his business is selling several small and full-sized pickup trucks, smaller cars that get good fuel economy, as well as Chevy Cobalt and Pontiac Vibe models.

He says it's important for people to understand if they qualify for the program.

"The person who's buying the new car has to have the trade-in title in their name, and proof of insurance for the past 12 months," says Williams. "Even though people have owned a car for a long time they may have dropped insurance on it and that eliminates them."

There are fuel economy concerns for an individual's current vehicle as well. It also depends on what type of trade you're looking to make.

Robert Halburt is the general sales manager with Lone Star Chrysler Dodge Jeep in Sulphur Springs. He says sales have certainly increased since the start of the program.

"We are running low on inventory but the good news is they say be mid-September we'll be back up to full stock," says Halburt.

Vehicles such as the Dodge Avenger, smaller V-6 Chargers, V-6 trucks, as well as smaller SUV's are doing fairly well at the business.

"A lot of this stuff that's generally slower to sell has been selling," says Halburt."So if we've had something sitting on the lot for a little bit it's moving it because only certain vehicles qualify."

Williams says waiting to be reimbursed by the government is certainly tough, but for the most part the pros outweigh the cons.

"The process of applying for our money is cumbersome, it's slow, it's inefficient and not too many people in the business that I know have gotten any money back," according to Williams.

Halburt feels the same way.

"The only trick or catch to it is trying to get your money from the government," says Halburt.

The US Government is assuming money for the program will run out by around the end of the month, giving people only a few more weeks to take advantage of the deals.

Williams added, "The system is overloaded; the plan has been very popular."