What effect has the expiration of the federal C.A.R.S, or cash for clunkers, program had on your operations?

District Voices

Published November 1, 2009  | November 2009 issue


We’re a pre-owned (vehicle) dealership. ... We actually sold, I believe, in the last two or three months while cash for clunkers was going on, more cars than we would have sold without it. But as far as after the fact now that it’s done, the faucet is shut off. ... [T]hose people who were in the market or who may not have been in the market for maybe six or eight months ahead of time, that drew everybody out and about and the people who were going to buy cars in the next six months or a year just decided to do it then. So I don’t know what that’s going to entail for the next six months.

Casey Sol, Manager
Drive One Today—Eau Claire, Wis.


[A]t this point, we’re pretty well established in the community. A lot of people know that Newgate uses (old) cars for training young adults who want to get into mechanics or auto body and provides (donated) cars to low-income single moms. ... [S]o we didn’t have the impact (on donated cars) because of our size that I know cash for clunkers had on smaller nonprofits. ... I’m sure that we lost cars that didn’t get donated because they were crushed instead.

Ron Severson, Executive Director
Newgate Education Center—Minneapolis, Minn.

South Dakota

Well, according to the dealerships ... September started off pretty slow for new cars. I don’t know exactly how it’s going to end, but according to everything I heard while I was out in the dealerships, new car sales were pretty light beginning of September. ... August, of course, was excellent.

Teri Everson, Director of Field Services
South Dakota Automobile Dealers Association—Sioux Falls, S.D.

Upper Peninsula of Michigan

[T]raditionally, we’ll stock anywhere from 80 to 100 cars, and our inventory has been depleted to just a fraction of that. And to go out and replace the used cars right now, what it has done is driven the used car prices up so far that they’re very close to a new car price. I think the fallout that we’re seeing right now is just adjusting to the market conditions. We still have the same amount of people coming through the door. I don’t think we sold ahead or anything like that. But fulfilling their needs with inventory is probably our biggest issue right now.

Terry Packer, Sales Manager
Halbinsel Volkswagen-Mazda-Suzuki-Isuzu—Escanaba, Mich.

North Dakota

Our sales are back to ... the April-May type sales we were having. June and July in the Dakotas are the best months to sell, so those numbers ... were up. August numbers obviously were up, but our September sales numbers and early in October are much like our last spring sales numbers. [W]e’re actually ... very close to the numbers we want to hit, which is equivalent to last year, which was a tremendous sales year for us.

Justin Theel, Owner/General Manager
Cedric Theel Toyota Scion—Bismarck, N.D.


I think that car sales have slowed down. But I have no figures to back it up other than I know inventory is low. You can drive by any car lot and it’s pretty bare. ... I think those that were going to purchase at this time probably did it. If they had the type of trade that could be done, they probably did it during the cash for clunkers.

Marilyn Olsen, Executive Vice President
Montana Automobile Dealers Association—Helena, Mont.