'Clunkers' Program Will End Monday
The government's $3 billion "Cash for Clunkers" auto rebate program—which was popular with car buyers seeking a deal for their aging vehicles but a bureaucratic challenge for car dealers—will itself be scrapped on Aug. 24, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said on Thursday.
The program, which began on July 24 and offered a rebate of up to $4,500 for aging, gas-guzzling vehicles, will end at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, said LaHood, who pronounced the program a success. "This program has been a lifeline to the automobile industry, jump-starting a major sector of the economy and putting people back to work," Secretary LaHood said. "At the same time, we've been able to take old, polluting cars off the road and help consumers purchase fuel-efficient vehicles."
As of Aug. 20, the rebate program had recorded more than 457,000 dealer transactions worth $1.9 billion in rebates, the government said.
The program was originally launched with $1 billion in funding and was scheduled to expire no later than Nov. 1. But after a rush of buyers thronged auto showrooms in the first week, Congress added an additional $2 billion to the program.
Dealers have complained of difficulties accessing the computer system needed to process the rebates and delays in reimbursement from the government. On Thursday, General Motors said it would offer cash advances to its dealers to tide them over until they are paid by the government.