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Cash for Clunkers ending Monday
Local dealers wrap it up over weekend
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The government’s program to rid roadways of dirty cars while presumably boosting auto industry sales found mild success in Hinesville, but left plenty to be desired.
Cash for Clunkers ends Monday but dealers across the country — including local lots — ended their participation Friday to ensure their paperwork would be processed in time.
The Cash for Clunkers program, officially known as the Car Allowance Rebate System, was implemented July 24, and Congress reportedly set aside $3 billion to support the program.
According to a release issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the program has had a “wildly successful run.”
Paul Coley, finance manager at NeSmith Chevrolet, says the dealership saw between 15 and 20 drivers take advantage of the program. “Based on our geographic placement and our normal traffic, I’d say [the response] was OK,” Coley said. “It had its pros and cons, but I’m sure it drove customers in.”
Both Coley and sales associate Byron Johnson said some customers who came in hoping to get as much as $4,500 for their older vehicles were unsure or unaware of the requirements for participating in the program.
“They thought they could just drive up and get $3,500 or $4,500,” Coley said.
The government’s information Web site,, detailed the requirements and qualifications for receiving the rebate, which include having a vehicle that only has a combined city-highway fuel economy of 18 miles per gallon, and owning and insuring the vehicle for at least a year. Additionally, vehicles could only be traded in for new models.

As of 8 p.m. Monday, the government will no longer accept applications for rebates, and dealerships that fail to submit their customers’ applications by the deadline risk taking on extra fees. Coley said it is this caveat and other processing requirements that could make auto dealers leery of participating in such a program again.

“While it was good in general for driving traffic, the policy and procedure are too aggravating and boggling,” he said.

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