People in the market for a new car in South Carolina and around the country are scrambling in these tough economic times to find a way to purchase a new set of wheels. The U.S. government has stepped in with $1 billion for a program called “Cash for Clunkers.” Consumers vouchers in amounts of $3500 and $4500 are available on a first come, first serve basis. The program will end when the budget is exhausted or on October 1, whichever comes first. Ford Motor Company National Incentive Manager Andrew Ashman says the amount of the voucher a customer receives is based on the upgrade in gas mileage moving from the clunker to the new vehicle.”If you have an SUV, a pickup truck, or even a car that qualifies that gets less that 18 miles per gallon, if you go into a new car you have to improve your fuel economy by either four miles per gallon or 10. if you improve your fuel economy by 4 miles per gallon you get $3500. If you improve your fuel economy by 10 miles per gallon you get $4500.”
Similar programs have boosted sales in other nations, including England and Germany.
Ashman says a clunker doesn’t have to look like something that’s headed to the junk yard, a clunker can actually be a nice vehicle that a person drives everyday. “The technical definition is any vehicle that gets less than 18 miles per gallon. Quite honestly those are really trucks, sports utility vehicles, as well as large cars which are the kind of categories that on a broad basis we’ve seen that will qualify for the program.”
Ashman says his company’s website has already gotten over 100,000 hits from people interested in getting information about the program. Ashman says persons serious about participating in the program need to act as soon as possible.
“It’s a billion dollar program, which sounds like a lot of money, but its only 250,000 vehicles. In the grand scheme of things we know this money is going to go very quickly, because when it ends Congress has said its a billion dollars, 250,000 units there is no current plans at this point to extend it beyond the current amount of money that’s out there.”
Ashman says in the grand scheme of things, the program benefits the customer, the economy, and the environment. “they get a brand new vehicle. It provides advantages for the economy because it stimulating sales that otherwise wouldn’t be there. it’s also providing benefits for the environment because you’re taking vehicles that are less fuel efficient and obviously putting them into vehicles that are more fuel efficient, which will save us significantly over the long term in terms of the gallons of that we use here in the U.S. economy.”