Cash for Clunkers boosts business for Mid-South dealerships - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Cash for Clunkers boosts business for Mid-South dealerships

By Jamel Major - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The federal government's Cash for Clunkers program has jumpstarted sales for many auto dealerships in the Mid-South.

Kent Ritchey operates three Landers car dealerships in the Memphis and Southaven area.  Wednesday, Ritchey said he's seen a 25 to 30 percent boost in business since the program was implemented.

"We had a great July," he said. "Got a great start to the month of August.  The car business is coming back slowly but surely. People are getting more confident in the economy."

Ritchey said the Cash for Clunkers program is what's helping bring in business, as excitement has been building since the program took off.

"It's just as exciting as it was the day we started on the 24th," he said. "The great thing about it is we think the senate is going to pass the $2 billion we need to finish the program."

It's a program that has already encouraged vehicle owners to turn in their old gas guzzlers for newer, energy efficient cars from dealers, using $3,500 and $4,500 rebates.  The clunkers are then scrapped.

"If you owned the vehicle for the last year, had it insured for the last year, and you've had a tag for the last year you probably qualify," Ritchey said.

For Ritchey, while the program has been a success, the biggest challenge is waiting on reimbursement checks from the federal government.  He's confident the money will come soon.

"Uncle Sam owes me and the dealerships approximately $350,000," he said. "We haven't gotten paid one penny, but we expect to get all of it. They told us they'll start paying today."

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