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Clunkers clicking for local dealers
Owners: Program is working
W Cash For Clunkers Heal
In this July 28, 2009 photo, Toyota salesman Red Qayomie walks by a Jeep Grand Cherokee Loredo that was turned in as a clunker at a Toyota dealership in Palo Alto, Calif. The House raced Friday to pass legislation pouring an additional $2 billion into the popular _-but financially strapped - "cash for clunkers" car purchase program. - photo by Associated Press
      Three local car dealers have seen a tremendous uptick in business since rules for the Car Allowance Rebate System, or CARS program, were clarified at the beginning of the week.
       The program is designed to help the economy and the environment by spurring new car sales. Car owners can receive federal subsidies of up to $4,500 for trading in their old cars for new ones that achieve significantly higher gas mileage.
       "This program has helped our sales tremendously," Robbie Franklin, owner of Franklin Chevrolet and Franklin Toyota in Statesboro, said Friday. "The program went into effect July 1, but the rules weren't finalized until a few days ago. It is somewhat complicated, but complication aside, it has really helped our sales at both dealerships. We are so glad to have this program. It has been good for both the buyer and the seller."
       Joe Davis, who owns Georgia Chrysler Dodge Jeep on Highway 301 South, echoed Franklin.
       "This is the first part of the government stimulus package that has really helped," Davis said. "I'm a fan. People still come in with a lot of questions about what qualifies as a clunker, but it has worked very well for us."
       Rozier Ford Lincoln Mercury in Statesboro also has benefitted from the Cars for Clunkers program. Owner Frank Rozier said he hasn't been in Statesboro this past week, but his sales staff reported a definite spike in car sales directly attributable to the CARS program.
       "I am not sure how many cars we have sold because of the program, but I know it has been several," he said. "We are continuing to get phone calls and people coming into the dealership trying to take advantage of the allowance before the program ends. I have been told that it was estimated that the program would have enough money to last through November. Now, the initially funding has basically been allocated in a week's time."
       Cleve White, owner of Cleve White Nissan, said he hasn't seen much interest in the program at his dealership so far, but intends to promote it if additional funds are allocated for it by the federal government.
       "We really haven't sold that many cars using the program, but as it is extended, we are definitely going to become more proactive," he said. "There is clearly a demand out there, and it is something that we need to take advantage of."

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