09/04/09 — Dealers: Cash for Clunkers success in Wayne County

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Dealers: Cash for Clunkers success in Wayne County

By Laura Collins
Published in News on September 4, 2009 1:46 PM

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Clunker vehicles are seen at the Deacon Jones Nissan dealership. Many local car buyers took advantage of the rebate money.

Some area dealerships are starting to see money from the Federal Cash for Clunkers bill.

The program, which ended Monday, offered rebates for old, gas-guzzling vehicles traded in for more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Brant Alyea, Toyota of Goldsboro general sales manager, said the program brought in a lot of business to the dealership.

"It went well. We got about 75 (clunkers) in the last month," he said. "And slowly we have started getting pay on some of them. A lot of dealers submitted their applications, and they were overwhelmed, but hopefully we all get our money. We're not panicking yet."

Alyea said the clunkers are still on the lot waiting to be destroyed.

"I have a lot of clunkers sitting in the back. We have to put a chemical in the engine and then send it to a facility that crushes them," he said, adding that some of the cars are still relatively valuable. "I think there are definitely a lot of cars that are very nice, and they're still in good condition. It would be nice to pass them on or give them to a church."

Keith Austin, sales manager at Chevrolet Cadillac of Goldsboro, also saw an increase in floor traffic, but said the dealership was very "conservative" with the program.

"We made sure that all the t's were crossed and all the i's were dotted. If they didn't have everything they needed with them, we didn't take their (clunker)," he said.

Austin said the dealership took in about 20 clunkers and is now starting to get some of the payments for them, but slowly.

While the program brought in more customers, he said it's possible it will lead to slower months in the future.

"Obviously it was good for the car business, but the aftereffects still remain to be seen," he said. "Have we just pulled normal business ahead, business that we would have seen in a couple months anyway?"

Jason Fennell, general sales manager at Deacon Jones Nissan, said the dealership also saw a lot more business.

"We had exceptional results," he said. "Floor traffic was very good, and most of the people who came in bought a car."

The dealership said some of the rebate applications have been accepted, but they haven't received any money yet.

The Nissan dealership took in more than 30 clunkers. Unlike Austin, Fennell said he thinks the program brought out customers that might not have bought a new car in years.

"I would say that observing the customers we had in the dealership, they were a little bit older and typically paid cash for the difference and bought new," he said. "These folks were very frugal and would have sat on these cars until it was time. It definitely brought people out of the woodwork that wouldn't have been in here for a very long time."