Cash for Clunkers Deadline at 8 p.m. Today
The government's Cash for Clunkers program expires at 8 p.m., as the program runs out of its original and supplemental funding.
As of 7 a.m. today, participating dealers have submitted 635,186 transactions to the government for their $4,500 reimbursement for each clunker turned in. The total outlay to come is about $2.9 billion, so that's near the total sum allotted.
CNBC autos reporter Phil LeBeau reported this morning that he's received e-mails from a number of buyers who say they are stuck in "clunker purgatory," meaning they have turned in their clunker and paid for a new car but their dealer has not yet handed over their new car. Why? Because the dealer hasn't gotten its $4,500 government check yet.
This has been extensively reported by The Post's Dana Hedgpeth, and you can read about that by clicking here.
The clunkers program is the only stimulus program so far that has "worked," and we put "worked" in quotes for a number of reasons:
-- It's been the most visible of stimulus programs and it has national reach, unlike parochial paving projects paid for by the stimulus.
-- It's been popular, meaning people have taken advantage of it, and popular, meaning it has a goal lauded by many: getting older, less-fuel-efficient cars off the road and replacing them with more fuel-efficient ones. (Though the program is *not* popular with the antique car crowd or the spare-parts lobby.)
-- It has "worked" by goosing the automakers and auto dealers with a short-term, Red Bull jolt of caffeinated money. But all that has done is burn down inventory. It was not responsible for any new cars made or any new car parts manufactured. (GM saying it's increasing capacity later this year is more a function of its post-bankruptcy turnaround.) So the program has had few upstream economic benefits. And it's unclear whether the program has actually robbed demand from the future, which means GM and Chrysler -- still on wobbly legs -- could face a serious sales decline next year.
That being said, if you're still thinking about taking advantage of the program, you've got about six hours left.
-- Frank Ahrens
August 24, 2009; 1:53 PM ET
Categories: The Ticker | Tags: Chrysler, GM, cash for clunkers
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