- Northern Illinois to get $8.3 million for state construction projects
- Tree-lighting festival kicks off holiday season in Machesney Park
- Roscoe Boy Scout Troop’s tree stand at new location
- Tips for selecting safe toys for kids this holiday season
- Prayer service for World AIDS Day Nov. 30
- Food Bank joins national #GivingTuesday movement
- Lee Hamilton: What lies ahead for Congress
- Rockford Public Schools faces $8.8 deficit, board OKs flat tax, HR chief
- Literary Hook: A holiday tradition: ‘This Thanksgiving, Remember’
- Cold snap does not negate global warming
Cash for Clunkers spoils used market
Retail car sales tumble at program’s end
By Jim Hagerty
The federal subsidized program, Cash for Clunkers, was a hit for about 700,000 new car customers and a host of new dealers. With the program now in the books, dealers are, again, at the mercy of a bruised economy. The program ended Aug. 24.
In September, new car sales fell by about 10.4 percent nationally, and failed to increase consumer spending to the degree predictions indicated, experts say. The drop in sales is the biggest since August 2005. The Clunkers program subsidized new car buyers up to $4,500 for trading in old, even battered, vehicles, for more fuel-efficient cars.
As new dealerships return to the drawing board to attract customers without the help of federal assistance, used car shoppers aren’t finding much luck, either. Most cars traded in under the Clunker program were not viable used options and did little, if anything, to improve used inventories. Used dealerships, in turn, must hike prices and wait until new dealers start taking in solid trades and selling more new cars. For nearly every car solid under the Cash for Clunkers program, one car was sold to a scrap yard.
Economists say most cars bought with Clunker dollars were vehicles buyers would have otherwise purchased in the fourth quarter.
Cash for Clunkers, officially known as the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), began in July.
From the October 21-27, 2009 issue