Final day for Cash for Clunkers program

August 24, 2009 People looking for a good deal on a new car jammed car dealerships in Chicago and across the nation.

With many dealerships having run out of inventory a few days ago, there hasn't been much for procrastinators to choose from.

On Monday afternoon, there were still people walking into dealerships hoping to take advantage of the Cash for Clunkers government recent program. Some were apologetic for procrastinating.

"A lot had to do with financing and things. I just got another job so I thought it would be a good time to get a new car while the deals are hot," said Ben Stozek.

The trouble for the customers is while the few larger dealerships, like Joe Rizza Ford in Orland Park, still have some limited inventory of qualifying vehicles, many more have sold out, victims of the program's success and the limited inventories they had on hand when the $3 billion car allowance rebate system was launched last month.

"Friday we had about five or six sales to finish off," said Steve Garcia, Mancari Chrysler. "Offically, we were sold out of inventory as of Friday."

Oak Lawn's Mancari's Chrysler sold some 75 vehicles under Cash for Clunkers. Joe Rizza sold about 300. Their back lot is still cluttered with turned-in clunkers until the government reimburses them but even with $1 million stilled owed to them they are taking advantage of every last hour the program has left.

"We didn't want to turn anyone away. But what we told them we have to have the final paperwork because we can't chase it around come today because we have to have everything registered by 7:00 central daylight time today, no ifs, ands or buts," said Dan McMillan, Joe Rizza Ford.

There is no question that the program has been tremendously successful. Some analysts say half of the vehicles sold in the last month have been American cars. But the question is can they continue this momentum? The two dealers ABC7 visited on Monday said yes and pointed to the number of customers in their show room that were looking for cars not under the Cash for Clunkers program.

The deadline for dealers to file paperwork has been extended to Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. However, that only applies for the dealers to file their paperwork. The deadline to buy a car does remain at 7 p.m. on Monday.

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