Dealers find snags in Cash for Clunkers

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Local dealers say the "cash for clunkers" program had its challenges.

Michael Young, of Aiken, holding his son Cody, 2, traded in his 1995 Chevrolet Tahoe (rear) with 220,000 miles for a 2009 Chrysler PT Cruiser at Triangle Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep in Graniteville.  Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Michael Young, of Aiken, holding his son Cody, 2, traded in his 1995 Chevrolet Tahoe (rear) with 220,000 miles for a 2009 Chrysler PT Cruiser at Triangle Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep in Graniteville.

"The paperwork outweighs the benefits to the dealers," said Richard Pendarvis, the owner of Pendarvis Chevrolet in Edgefield, S.C. "A lot of time is involved in doing one. I could sell six cars in what it takes to do one of these."

"People are getting good deals. There's a lot more thousand dollar cars on the road than I thought. My concern going in was how many people were driving around that had a vehicle insured, tagged and titled for a year that would be able to buy a new vehicle," he said.

Mr. Pendarvis and other dealers were concerned about the program's funding.

"We really have no way of knowing how much money is left," said Brian Winters, the general manager at Gerald Jones Honda in Martinez.

The government requires dealerships to crush the car in order to get reimbursed. If the money runs out before they can submit the paperwork, they're "on the hook for $4,500," Mr. Winters said. "I'm sure there will be dealers left holding the bag."

He's also frustrated because he was on hold for four hours trying to get assistance, which he never received. He can't register deals because his information is listed incorrectly in the system, he said.

The dealership had sold 15 cars under the program so far, Mr. Winters said.

Mike Watson, the general manager at Sunbelt Nissan, is also concerned about the lag time, saying it takes several days to complete a transaction. Also, the rules keep changing, he said.

"It's a well-intentioned bill, but a lot of moving parts. I have not had any assurances that this dealership will get money on any of the cars to this point. The system is that backed up," Mr. Watson said.

Despite the benefits for consumers, it "doesn't help the most needy in that transportation loop," such as low-income consumers or the unemployed, he said.

Still, the customers like it.

Lynn Brisson, the owner of Triangle Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep, said demand has been overwhelming.

"They're coming and calling like crazy. It's probably giving us some business we would not have had. It's getting some people in that maybe thought they couldn't buy," she said.

One happy customer is Michael Young of Aiken, who paid $8,500 for a new car.

He said he landed the deal by turning in his 1995 Chevrolet Tahoe through the federal program. He and his family drove off the lot at Triangle Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep in Graniteville in a Chrysler PT Cruiser on Wednesday.

He said he received $9,000 in incentives for a car worth $1,500. Cash for clunkers offered a $4,500 rebate, which Chrysler matched.

"I couldn't believe it. We had no intention of purchasing a new car. It's hard to find a really quality used car for $8,500, and we got something brand new. It was amazing," Mr. Young said.

Reach LaTina Emerson at (706) 823-3227 or latina.emerson@augustachronicle.com.

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getalife
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getalife 07/31/09 - 05:54 am
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Fox News reported last night

Fox News reported last night that this program has been suspended due to lack of approved funding??

pizzato
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pizzato 07/31/09 - 06:08 am
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The surviving dealerships

The surviving dealerships will get burned on this one. A friend at work traded two cars his son traded in a truck so there is about 13 grand or so to one family with the dealer match money. I think theygot a hyundai in the deal too, not sure how that helps the American economy though.

sgachief
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sgachief 07/31/09 - 06:43 am
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typical of the SnObama admin.

typical of the SnObama admin. wait till you try to get medical care after his dumba** bill gets through his koolade drinking congress.

getalife
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getalife 07/31/09 - 07:28 am
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With the requirements to

With the requirements to crush the vehicle, freeze the motor, then replacement used parts will be sky high for those that keep their clunkers and will push them to replace their vehicle. This is one dumb plan that is costing the taxpayers for others to upgrade their vehicles. Saw where many are choosing Lexus vehicles to upgrade to??? Obama and the Democrats will break this nation!! He and his advisers have no idea on how to stimulate this economy.

Serioun
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Serioun 07/31/09 - 07:30 am
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"They're coming and calling

"They're coming and calling like crazy. It's probably giving us some business we would not have had. It's getting some people in that maybe thought they couldn't buy," she said., Lynn Brisson, the owner of Triangle Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep, said demand has been overwhelming." and I quote. That's all folks...stop hating. Oh, getalife...is has been suspended due to the overwhelming use of the program...stay away from Fox News...they deal in fairy tales.

Serioun
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Serioun 07/31/09 - 07:52 am
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getalife, sounds like the

getalife, sounds like the requirements are very eco-friendly. And you object to environmentally safe methods? Interesting...and Lexus is one of the top rated luxury cars in the country. You not jealous are you? Exactly what do you drive, when you are not on your horse?

OBX
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OBX 07/31/09 - 08:19 am
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Serioun his horse may cost

Serioun his horse may cost more than your Lexus....

Little Lamb
49255
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Little Lamb 07/31/09 - 08:24 am
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Does anybody know whether the

Does anybody know whether the dealers can strip out usable spare parts from these clunkers before they crush them? I hope they do, because it is a shame to crush good parts. Heck, it's downright immoral to crush a serviceable vehicle, but what do I know?

Tigger_The_Tiger
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Tigger_The_Tiger 07/31/09 - 09:13 am
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I would not be surprised if

I would not be surprised if they were REQUIRED to crush the usable parts as well....that way people will eventually not be able to fix the cars they have and will be required to buy the cars that Obama dictates that you have.

getalife
4
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getalife 07/31/09 - 09:32 am
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Serioun, you are one of the

Serioun, you are one of the blind being led down the path. These usable cars, their usable parts and the motors are being destroyed. It will create expensive replacement parts and cause those people with clunkers that have to keep their cars, to replace them because repair parts will be too much. If one billion dollars ran out in one week of the program, then three billion (total amount allocated for program) should run out in three weeks. This is the same government that wants to run our health care system. I don't trust their estimates on any program. While Lexus is a great car, I can't see how my tax dollars should pay for someone to upgrade from a clunker to a luxury car when I am driving two vehicles with over 200,000 miles each, and neither will qualify because they get good mileage per gallon of gas.. As far as the "horse" comment, you can kiss my horse's rear end.

aggrevatedparent
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aggrevatedparent 07/31/09 - 12:38 pm
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If O-Boob-A really had the

If O-Boob-A really had the american interest at heart, he should have made it where the "Clunkers" were donated to a charity so that the charitable orginazation could then turn around and sell the cars to people that otherwise couldn't afford a car.Make money for the charity and give someone who needs a vehicle the chance to get one. Many of these "clunkers" are still good reliable cars. I sure hope americans get a brain and vote this fool out in 4 years!

TakeAstand
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TakeAstand 07/31/09 - 01:27 pm
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They just approved 2 billion

They just approved 2 billion more for this stupid waste of money and cars program!!!!!!! geesh 4 more years of this crap.... we should be afraid.... very afraid!!!! lol

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