There’s nothing about the Cash for Clunkers program that’s going to come easy, apparently.
First, the program was so successful that the government ran out of money to give to people to buy new fuel-efficient cars. The Senate, after days of negotiations, has come up with another $2 billion.
Now there’s a shortage of cars.
“Everything’s gone,” Jerry Haas, the sales manager at Sugarloaf Ford in Winona told me this afternoon when I asked him about the odds of getting a Ford Focus, the second-most-popular car in the Cash for Clunkers program. “We have none and there are no Focuses at any dealer within 100 miles of me.”
Haas said one reason for the problem is the “poor timing” of the programming, coming at the end of a model year when dealers were trying to get rid of the older models and the new models haven’t arrived at showrooms yet.
“We’re trying to move (customers) into other units, but we’re all sold out in the first wave of the program. If they allotted more money, we don’t have enough cars to sell,” he said.
Ford, maker of the Focus had only a 25-day nationwide supply of cars. And only one plant in the world makes them.
“Car production is not something that you can snap your fingers and all of the sudden all the components and materials show up on your loading dock from your suppliers,” George Pipas of Ford said.
Toyota says it still has a decent supply of Corollas, at 37 days, according to the Associated Press. But there are shortages of the Prius gas-electric hybrid,
with a 13-day supply.
“It’s frustrating,” Haas acknowledged. He also can’t sell the cars in anticipation that Ford will deliver it later. “Without an MSRP sticker (manufacturer’s suggested retail price), I can’t sell the car.”