Bloomberg reports that nearly 16,000 auto dealers want to participate in the government’s Cash for Clunkers program, which gives people up to $4,500 to trade in their old 18 mpg-or-less gas hogs for new, fuel-efficient vehicles. The program was launched this weekend:
Almost 16,000 U.S. auto dealers have applied to participate in the “cash-for-clunkers” vehicle trade-in program, or about 80 percent of the nation’s new- vehicle retailers, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. The government is trying to help jump-start slumping auto sales through the program, giving consumers new-vehicle credits of as much as $4,500 for turning in older cars.
Cash for clunkers will end Nov. 1 or when the $1 billion in subsidies expire, whichever occurs first. Congress must decide later this year whether to approve legislation extending it into 2010.
“With the tremendous public interest leading up to today, we anticipate that the $1 billion in funding for the cash for clunkers program will go quickly,” John McEleney, chairman of the McLean, Virginia-based National Automobile Dealers Association, said in a statement today.
Interestingly enough, Hyundai appears to be one of the program’s main beneficiaries, proving that even government assistance programs aren’t immune to the free market.