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‘Cash for clunkers’ is confusing shoppers

July 16, 2009

GLENDALE — Auto dealers are taking on the roles of educators as consumers struggle to grasp the developing “cash for clunkers” program, a federal plan meant to spur auto sales while taking gas-guzzling vehicles off the streets, dealers say.

Misperceptions about the program’s requirements and benefits have grown as consumers hope to take advantage of a law that will give sales credits to owners of vehicles with a combined city and highway fuel economy of less than 18 miles per gallon, dealers said.

Some shoppers believe they can get sales credits of up to $4,500 and simultaneously cash in on the trade-in values of their old cars. Others have attempted to bring in vehicles that don’t properly function, hoping the government will offer them sales credits while also disposing of their automobiles, dealers said.

Neither of those options are possible, and with a lengthy list of requirements for the program still being finalized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, some consumers are going to be disappointed, said Jason Warren, general sales manager for Community Chevrolet in Burbank.

“It’s got the potential of maybe upsetting some people if they do come in and then we’re maybe not able to help them,” Warren said.


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