Some East Texans not so sure about 'cash for clunkers'

By Morgan Chesky - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Business at Bud Jones Garage continues. A steady flow of customers with troubled cars helped them remain strong in the recession. Now, a new challenge presents itself.

"I've been noticing around town some of the other shops and us included, we have hit slower times than we expect," said Angelo Lopez.

Some East Texas mechanics attribute the slow times to the clunker craze. Cars providing steady business now sit on lots with there engines seized and cashed out. At Bud Jones, incoming cars are primarily models from 1996 to 2006. Promised rebates could have some cars disappearing.

"Only gets about 16 miles to the gallon as of now," said Lopez. "It probably would qualify for the cash for clunker because of the mileage, but it is a great vehicle."

Mechanics say since older model cars may need some fixing up, the rebates look enticing. But, they remind customers with the added cash, also comes a car payment.

"I would rather spend a couple hundred dollars here or there for what I got, opposed to every month having to pay a certain amount and then you still may have to fix something," said Lopez.

"It's already been hard to find them," said Lance Brown, with Firestation Auto.

Brown says he relies on selling cars, now qualifying as clunkers, that he says deserve a driver.

"There's a whole market out there for people who don't have the credit to buy new," said Brown.

And, with once reliable inventory inaccessible, dealers say used car sales now face long term problems.

"It's going to hurt us eventually when you start taking a million or two million cars off the used car market," said Brown. "It's frustrating because the government is looking after people they've got money invested in and the independents you wonder kinda where it's gonna stop."

If the Senate approves the extra $2 billion, it would supposedly fund the cash for clunkers program through Labor Day.

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