White House to Wind Down the Popular ‘Cash for Clunkers’ Program

The overwhelmingly popular “cash for clunkers” incentive program is nearing an end. According to the WSJ, the Obama administration will release a plan this week to wind down the multi-billion dollar federal effort that gave auto dealers sales activity they hadn’t seen in a long time.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Wednesday that the federal government would disclose within two days updated figures on the program, including how much of the $3 billion in funding was left. Mr. LaHood also said that the government would make sure that all vouchers issued by dealers are reimbursed before the money runs out. Dealers have complained that the government wasn’t moving quickly enough to reimburse discounts given to customers under the popular program that nearly ran out of its allotted $1 billion in the first six days, putting some dealers at risk for hundreds of thousands of dollars should the federal funds not come through.”They’re going to get their money,” Mr. LaHood said, responding to dealers’ complaints of payment delays. “There will be no car dealer that won’t be reimbursed.”

Mr. LaHood also said the Transportation Dept. has “more than 1,000 people” dealing with the paperwork to speed payments to dealers, and continues to add workers to meet the demand.

The latest monthly auto sales have indicate just how popular the cash for clunkers has been. Ford Motor (NYSE:F) showed a year-over-year jump in sales last month for the first time in about two years. GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota (NYSE:TM), and Honda (NYSE:HMC) dealers in all segments of the country, almost with no exception, have been reporting significant sales. In addition, a number of major auto makers competing in the U.S., including Toyota, GM, Ford and Chrysler have said they will increase production to restock dealer lots depleted by the cash for clunkers sales run.

Here is a list of the Top Ten cars purchased under the program.

1) Toyota Corolla
2) Honda Civic
3) Ford Focus
4) Toyota Camry
5) Toyota Prius
6) Hyundai Elantra
7) Ford Escape
8) Honda Fit
9) Nissan Versa
10) Honda CR-V

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