Cash for Clunkers buyers finding low stock

August 9, 2009 6:39:14 PM PDT
The Cash for Clunkers program hit full speed this weekend after Congress authorized another $2 billon on Friday. The program is so popular dealerships are starting to see some models selling out. One salesman in Colma told ABC7 he had not seen inventory levels this low during his entire 47 years in the business.

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Only one Chevy Equinox remained at the Stewart Chevrolet dealership in Colma this weekend. Dealers from as far away as Michigan had been calling to ask if they could have it. But, the dealership refused to give it away and sold it on Saturday.

The limited supply of available vehicles brings to light one important part of the Cash for Clunkers program. Customers cannot trade in their clunkers unless a dealership has a car for them to buy. People who have been showing up to trade in their cars have been surprised at the low inventories.

"It was pretty low. I was very surprised and to be honest, I was going for a little pick-up truck and couldn't find one. So, I ended up with the HHR which is kind of a little station wagon kind of thing. And, I got a heck of a deal on it," said buyer John Barnes.

There were only four HHRs left at Stewart Chevrolet so John decided to take the deal instead of waiting for a pick-up since he does not know when the Cash for Clunker program might run out of money, or when the pick-ups will be ready. Salesman in Colma say Chevy production is not even scheduled to start until September.

Car buyers may need to be a little more flexible than they anticipate and take what they can get because inventories are low. President Obama has approved another $2 billion to extend the Cash for Clunkers program until Labor Day.

Pickings are slim for buyers, but dealers say this is a good problem to have.

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