Cash for Clunkers Finishes, Dealer Stimulus Program Begins
The Government's Cash for Clunkers Program Is Ending and Leading U.S. Automotive Retailers Have Started a New Auto Stimulus Plan That Offers Up to $4500 to Consumers
NEW YORK, Aug. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Cash for Clunkers is coming to an end. National Automobile Dealers Association officials asked the government to suspend the cash-for-clunkers program because a survey by the group found that the $3 billion fund has been exhausted, NADA Chairman John McEleney said.
While the Cash for Clunkers program is coming to an end manufacturers and dealers are concerned that their business will return to pre-clunker levels. To address this concern, some of the leading U.S. Automotive Retailers are participating in a privately funded stimulus program to help consumers who were left behind by the government's plan. Due to the restrictions of the government's program, over 90% of consumers were not eligible. As a result, some of the largest retailers in the country are promoting a new dealer funded stimulus program that gives consumers up to $4500 of additional trade-in value towards the purchase of a new or used vehicle. See Program details at www.AutoStimulusPlan.com. The new stimulus plan is more inclusive because all trade-ins older than 2007 are eligible regardless of their current MPG and consumers can purchase or lease any new or used vehicle with an improved fuel economy of 2MPG. This is a contrast to the government program which excluded trade-ins with more than 18MPG, used cars and short term leasing and some vehicles needed to get at least 4MPG improvement to qualify.
"The business that came from the Cash for Clunkers program started off very strong and it has since leveled off," said Vince Sheehy from Sheehy Automotive Group in Washington DC, Virginia, Maryland and Baltimore. "But we did not expect it to end so fast." While clunker business began to slow down, dealers participating in the New Stimulus Plan have seen their sales continue to rise because they are helping the larger group of consumers that were left behind by the government program. In fact, according to Brian Benstock, General Manager and Vice President at Paragon, has helped them rise from 17th in new vehicle sales to #4 in the nation. In addition, the used vehicle component of the new stimulus plan has helped them become the #1 certified pre-owned Honda and Acura dealer in the world this month. "This is our best used vehicle month ever," said Benstock.
Paragons results since the New Stimulus Plan took effect have led to a historic month:
- They are on pace for 600 new vehicles to be sold and 300 used vehicles. This represents a 100% increase in new car business and a 50% increase in pre-owned business.
- 900 vehicle sales created estimated sales tax revenues of $2,000,000 for the month.
- 900 unit sales created $24,000,000.00 in gross sales.
John Malishenko, Director of Operations for Germain Automotive, another participating dealer in the Stimulus Plan, is reporting that his dealership just had their second best three day weekend of the year. "We've seen a 40% increase in unit sales versus July and we are currently pacing $45,000,000 of sales for the month. While other dealer's business has been falling off we are picking up." The program has worked well because it has focused on the majority of the people that were not eligible for the government plan.
In the wake of the government's program dealers are running low on cash and their inventories are lopsided with most of the new vehicles that qualify selling out while they still have a surplus of other vehicles that don't qualify. "The new dealer stimulus plan will help us sell the cars that are left over and help us build up our used vehicle business," said Brian Benstock from Paragon Auto Group, one of the participating dealers in New York City.
Used vehicle inventories have shrunk because the clunkers have to be destroyed. "We have to buy more used cars at auctions for higher prices," said John Malishenko, Director of Operations for the Germain Automotive Group who owns dealerships in Ohio, Arizona, Florida and Arkansas. "I would prefer to give customers 20 percent more for their trade-in to earn their business rather than paying more to Manheim Auction. If I overpay under the new stimulus plan I still sold a car and I have a customer who will service with me over the long term."
The dealer-funded Auto Stimulus Plan includes used vehicles and allows dealers to resell the trade ins. "Letting consumers buy a used vehicle or lease a new vehicle makes it affordable for a lot of people who could not participate otherwise," said Scott Gruwell from Courtesy Auto Group in California and Arizona, one of GM's largest dealers and a participating dealer.
"We needed to do something to help out all the customers who were upset that they could not participate," said Rick Case, owner of Rick Case Automotive Group in Florida, Georgia and Ohio. "Consumers love it because the new stimulus saves them a lot of money on their purchase and reduces their gas and repair bills."
The Auto Stimulus Plan is a private sector program promoted by retailers to provide incentives to consumers that will help the economy and the environment at the same time. To qualify for an incentive a consumer must select a new or pre-owned vehicle with a 2MPG improvement over their current vehicle, which is the same requirement the government program has for SUV's, but it applies to all vehicles under the dealer's plan.
"The MPG requirements are lower because our primary goal is to help consumers that don't qualify for the government's program and to stimulate the economy through improved sales, jobs and spending," said Gruwell. "As a result, the environmental benefits may not be as big as the government program but it will help more customers get into more fuel efficient vehicles."
"If a consumer does not have a trade, they can benefit from the extraordinary manufacturer incentives that are out today," added Case. "In addition to the stimulus, our dealership is offering up to $4500 of savings to consumers."
Consumers can learn more about the program and begin connecting with participating retailers by visiting: www.AutoStimulusPlan.com.
The Auto Stimulus Plan gives consumers up to $4500 of additional trade-in value towards the purchase or lease of a new or used vehicle with improved fuel economy. The program has fewer rules, easier paperwork and no minimum MPG requirements for trade-ins.
Below is a summary of the program Requirements:
Current Vehicle Requirements
- Vehicle must be older than 2007
- Vehicle must be in working condition
- Vehicle has been owned and registered for at least 6 months
- No minimum MPG requirements
- Vehicles that are not eligible are: salvaged vehicles and vehicles with floor or frame damage
Replacement Vehicle Requirements
- Replacement vehicle must have a minimum of 2MPG improvement
- New and Used Vehicles Qualify
- All makes and models
- No minimum MPG requirements
- No price restrictions
- This plan is not valid in combination with the government's C.A.R.S. program
The plan varies based on the year, make and model of the eligible vehicle. The plan may also vary in some states due to state laws that regulate automotive advertising and promotion. The Auto Stimulus Plan was planned to end when the government's program expired but they have extended it to November 1st. Visit www.AutoStimulusPlan.com for details.
The organization informs consumers that they should be patient if they cannot get through to the website, www.AutoStimulusPlan.com, on their first try. During the program's launch there was an overwhelming level of traffic resulting in periods of interruption. Consumers are advised to visit at a later time if the site is not functioning properly.
Some of the largest automotive retailers in the country are participating in the Auto Stimulus Plan because it helps consumers who were left behind by the government's program. The program and its participating dealers are not affiliated with the government program. For more information about the government's program visit www.Cars.gov. Participating dealers are domestic and import licensed new car dealers who have agreed to provide up to $4500 of additional trade-in value for consumers to get a newer more fuel efficient vehicle. The www.AutoStimulusPlan.com website and communication campaign was built by Level 5, an automotive marketing and consulting firm that specializes in creating and implementing integrated programs for Manufacturers, Associations and Retailers.
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