'Cash for Clunkers' program suspended

NORTH HILLS, Calif. The program will be officially suspended by midnight, Eastern Standard Time, Thursday.

The $1 billion program offered credits of up to $4,500 for drivers turning in their older, less efficient vehicles.

The first week was so successful that some dealers were worried the program would run out of money before they could be reimbursed.

"A lot of these people that are trading in these cars in need it. Whether they have a $200 car or $100 car, what a great thing to give somebody a gift of $4500 to get into a brand new vehicle," said Terry Miller, General Sales Manager, Galpin Ford. "And it's doing the job that we want it to by taking these gas guzzlers off the road and at the same time stimulating the economy and giving something back to people that need it."

Nationwide more than 19,000 people have traded in their cars in just six days. The influx of drivers is so large, that the government's Web site crashed as dealers across the country processed sales.

"I think it's a great program. I got $4,500 for this vehicle towards the purchase of a new F150. It was time to turn this one in. It's 15 years old," said Bob Carson, a car buyer.

"The program is supposed to end on November 1, but with the huge response that we're getting, we think that within two or three weeks the money is going to be gone," said Miller.

Miller is just one of the many industry insiders who was concerned that the government's billion dollar allocation to the program would dry up sooner than later, and he was right. On Thursday afternoon, the government announced it was suspending the program because it was in danger of going through the billion dollars by midnight Eastern Standard Time.

"At this point we got customers here that are buying vehicles with the program so we will go ahead and complete those deals and then we will wait for further notice from the government on how to continue," said Miller.

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-New York) released the following statement Thursday night regarding the "Cash for Clunkers" program:
"This was a very successful program, maybe even too successful. The program should continue, but perhaps with a tune-up so that we get the most stimulus, conservation and efficiency for the buck."

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