Was Cash for Clunkers effective?

Rows of new cars / Photo by: Chad Douglas

Were you able to get a new car because of the Cash for Clunkers program?

A lot of people took advantage of the $4500 rebate from the federal government to get gas guzzlers off the roads.

You may have also heard some car dealerships complaining they weren't getting their money fast enough from Uncle Sam.

KHQA checked in with a local car dealer this afternoon to see if the federal program brought them enough cash or if the program itself was a clunker.

Shotterkirk Chevrolet in Quincy sold 75 new cars in about four weeks thanks to the Cash for Clunkers program. Take a look at some of the clunkers...all makes and models from Fords to Dodge to Mercury. It doesn't matter, if they didn't get a certain gas mileage, the government wanted them off the streets, and wanted the owners behind the wheel of a new, more fuel efficient car. Brad Mintle is the New Car and Truck Manager at Shottenkirk Cheverolet. He says he's very happy with the Cash for Clunkers program. But the program wasn't without its issues.

"At first the computer backlot was an inconvenience to us, but for the most part, our paperwork is pretty clean. We didn't have the difficulty of logging the paperwork other dealers did, but it's going pretty smoothly now," says Mintle.

You'll remember the brakes were put on the Cash for Clunkers program because it ran out of money. Congress found more money and put more gas in the program's tank. But the program still had some kinks. Dealers were complaining they weren't getting reimbursed fast enough to make ends meet.

"At first, there was that problem. But now that the government has hired more individuals to review the deals, approvals have been coming in quicker. We're about 60% now which I hear is higher than other dealers," says Mintle.

There have also been other benefits to the program. I talked with Lackey Auto Salvage in Palmyra and was told more customers are coming through their doors looking for parts.

"Salvage facilities pick the cars up. They are able to recycle certain parts off the vehicle and the frame and engine have to be crushed," says Mintle.

Mintle also points out, Cash for Clunkers wasn't soley designed to help the car industry. It's also helping to get America's dependence on foriegn oil down. With more fuel efficient cars on the road, the hope is Americans use less gas.

KHQA checked in with a used car dealer as well.

Mike Goodson with Mike Goodson Motors, or MGM, says his business didn't see a tremendous effect from Cash for Clunkers.

However, he says his business may be a little unusual in that aspect.

He says knows of some other used car dealers where business was slowed down a lot.

He also says there's always been a market for cars that sell around two to four thousand dollars, and that market has been hit hard because a lot of those cars are now considered clunkers and won't ever be on the road again.