In a change of policy, the Department of Transportation announced that it will allow buyers using the Cash for Clunkers program to reserve a vehicle from the factory if one they want is not currently on dealer lots.
The change came because Michigan representatives Candice Miller and Fred Upton, both Republicans, raised concerns that popular models were vanishing from dealerships that might not be able to reload their stocks before the program runs out of money.
The DOT then stepped in and announced that dealers could reserve a car from an automaker using a vehicle identification number, while also submitting that number to the DOT.
Originally, owners of clunkers had to buy from a dealer’s stock, and only after the deal was complete could the dealer submit the transaction to the government for reimbursement for the $3,500 or $4,500 voucher.
The change also comes because data indicates that half of the nearly $3 billion set aside for the program has been claimed, and that the pot could run out by September. Some analysts have said that the speed of the deals could slow in the next 15 days, but with 338,659 vehicles purchased so far in the program and $1.418 billion already spent, the new rule allowing vehicle reservations should keep the pace up.
Clunkers Program to Let Buyers Reserve Vehicles (Detroit Free Press)