I have been following the Cash for Clunkers program by keeping my ear to the ground with the new car dealers. The latest drama was last evening (Thursday July 30th, 2009) when someone, somewhere announced that the Cash or Clunkers program was going to be suspended at midnight. The news spread like a wildfire across the internet. The strange thing is that none of the news came from the government. There was nothing on the official website www.cars.gov and there was nothing from the U.S. Department of Transportion. I don’t know where the statement came from, but I know it stuck fear in hearts of customer and dealers.
Phone calls went out to dealers from manufacturers representatives and I even heard of dealers that stopped accepting Cash for Clunkers or CAR Allowance Rebate System purchases on the spot. There were some mighty upset customers.
As best as I can gather, the government was concerned about the back log of dealers submitting their requests online and the program reaching the one billion dollar limit. Unofficially I heard that they were discussing the possibility of putting the program on hold until they could find out exactly how much was being spent. They discussed it, they did not do it. So someone ran around screaming the sky is falling and everybody listened.
Jumping ahead to this morning Friday July 31st, 2009: news sources are reporting that Congress has passed another 2 billion dollars for the program. But based on the information I seen come through the news services in the last 24 hours regarding Cash for Clunkers I am not really sure of anything. The only thing that I do know for sure is that the program will continue through the weekend, after that we will have to see what happens.
I asked several dealers about registering their Cash for Clunkers sales and I got an ear full. The words they used to describe the process would make a sailor blush. I was also told eveytime they call the hotline for dealers they would wait and wait until the system hung up on them.
I think it is safe to say, if you have a clunker and want to participate in the program you better get to your dealer this weekend.
The Official Car Allowance Rebate System website WWW.CARS.GOV