The federal government’s “Cash for Clunkers” program ended a week ago and Pat Watson of the South Carolina Automobile Dealers Association says he is still gathering final figures on auto sales in the Palmetto state during the duration of the program. Watson says dealers is the state says the program did stimulate auto sales and attract larger numbers to their showrooms.”Consumers were turned on by the program. People purchased vehicles not only in South Carolina but across the country in a way that surprised everybody, especially the federal government, because the federal government was so swamped with “Cash for Clunkers” claims, they’re having a hard time paying any of them so far.”
Watson says because dealers across the country were swamped with sales associated with the program, the federal government has fallen behind in getting funds to the dealers and dealers in South Carolina and across the country are finding that the waiting is worrisome.
“If you had sold 50 cars and lets say each one of them meant that $4500 was coming to you and you sold them back toward the end of July and you don’t have any money back from the federal government yet, wouldn’t you be
Watson says many dealers were surprised that a number of customers were attracted to their dealerships by the program, but decided to purchase vehicles they wanted even if they did not fit within the parameters of the program. “I talked to many dealers during this program and they said that a number of customers would come in with the idea of participating in the “Cash for Clunkers” deal, but would end up not doing that at all. They would purchase something beyond what they were eligible for in the program. Many people showed up at dealerships interested in buying a new vehicle and used vehicles as well.”
Watson says he sees signs that the economy is picking up and auto dealers around the state are feeling upbeat.