‘Cash for Clunkers’ plan nixed

The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have gone “clunker-free” with their economic stimulus bill. With SEMA (Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association) leading a grassroots effort to oppose attempts by some Washington lawmakers to include a national car crushing program in the legislation, the old car hobby was spared a new law that many think would have brought an early death to many aging and restorable cars.

Cash for Clunkers programs accelerate the normal retirement of vehicles through the purchase of older cars which are then typically crushed into blocks of scrap metal.

Two proposals were considered during the debate. The first was an $8 billion program targeting SUVs and pickup trucks of any model year that make less than 18 mpg such as Chevy Silverados, Dodge Rams, Ford F-Series and Jeep Wranglers. The second would have provided $16 billion worth of cash vouchers toward the purchase of a new vehicle for qualified individuals who allowed their turned-in cars to be destroyed.

“SEMA continues to believe that a cash for clunkers program would, for no proven gain, hurt thousands of independent repair shops, auto restorers, customizers and their customers across the country that depend on the used-car market,” said SEMA Vice President of Government Affairs Steve McDonald. “We look forward to working with the House and Senate and all stakeholders on sound economic solutions to the current recession that will help drive product sales for the entire auto industry, including the vast automotive aftermarket and its specialty equipment segment.”

The Senate economic stimulus bill includes a SEMA-supported amendment which allows taxpayers to claim a federal tax deduction on car-loan interest payments and state sales/excise taxes when buying a new car in 2009.  
        — Source: Marketwire

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