'Cash for Clunkers' program still alive, for now

By Brandi Cummings - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - It's not too late to get cash for your clunker. Even though the week-old Cash Allowance Rebate System is almost out of money, the White House says deals reached this weekend will count. 
    
That's great news for struggling dealerships and the people shopping for a new ride.

"Since last Friday, pretty crazy," says Galeana General Manager Scott Rhodes. "Phone calls have quadrupled, floor traffic has been extreme."

It may sound like chaos, but all the movement is good news.

"Here's something live, viable, and in our face and it's working," says Rhodes, who says he is excited about the Cash for Clunkers program.

"If this continues, our business would be restored a lot, we'll pick up a lot of activity. We'll be able to hire more people," he said.

That's the idea behind the government program aimed at stimulating the economy.

Lawmakers were pumping the brakes on the program last week until the House voted to throw in another two billion dollars. Its future is still up in the air, because the Senate hasn't yet agreed for the program to drive on.

After getting a new job, Brian Reeves was in the market for a new car, and Cash for Clunkers came just in time.

"I'd done my research enough to know that I was getting a good deal," said Reeves.

Reeves got a $3,000 rebate, a $4,500 Cash for Clunkers deal and traded in his gas-guzzling Chevrolet Suburban for a brand new Kia Optima.

"So I'm really walking out with a $12,000 brand new car with close to a $20,000 value," said Reeves.

Rhodes says you can get a deal too.

"Come into a dealership, got an evaluation, have their car appraised, get some professional opinions on what rebates they qualify for, what kinds of cars they can replace and make an informed decision as to whether or not this program is for them or not," Rhodes said.

Although the House has voted to add money to the program, some lawmakers are still unhappy. Republicans say the bill was rammed through, and the program isn't well-run.
    
The Senate is expected to take up the measure next week, the last week before the August recess.

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