Lot Manager James Helton oversees the rows of clunkers at Tincher-Williams on South Laurel Road. There are about 40 on the lot, most of which are trucks, Helton said. The cars are separated from other vehicles and are clearly marked with a circle on both sides of the front window and on both windows on the sides of the vehicles.

The Cash for Clunkers program has been a boon for area car dealerships, all of which report an increase in sales since the program went into effect.

Ed Tincher, owner of Tincher-Williams Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Pontiac, said Cash for Clunkers has turned 2009 into a good year.

“It is working real good,” Tincher said of the program, which gives customers a $3,500 or $4,500 credit toward the purchase of a new vehicle. “It has increased business by about 50 percent.”

Business has been so good, Tincher said his inventory is lower than he would like.

“We were just sitting here deciding on what vehicles to order,” Tincher said Wednesday.

As for the clunkers, Tincher said he has about 40 of them at the back of the lot waiting to be sent to the scrapyard, as per the requirements of the program.

“We have blown the motors in all of them,” Tincher said. “We put a salt solution in them and ran them until they locked up.”

Philip Shaw, manager of Kain Family Ford, said his dealership has likewise seen sales because of the program, adding customers are looking for cars that are more fuel efficient.

“A lot of them are trading in the Cherokees and the big, old gas guzzlers,” he said.

Unlike its name implies, customers don’t actually receive cash for trading in their vehicle. Instead, they receive a rebate on their purchase and the dealer gets the money back from the federal government.

“I think it’s going to be a good stimulus for the entire country,” Shaw said. “This is how the stimulus should work: Put the money in the people’s hands.”

The clunkers at Kain are in the back lot until they can be sent to Manchester, where they will be crushed.

Ed Hyde, owner of Legacy Nissan, said sales were already good, but Cash for Clunkers has made them even better.

“It has probably doubled our sales because people want to take advantage of the deal,” Hyde said.

Though the program has boosted sales, Hyde said filling out the required paperwork — which includes 20 documents — has proven tedious. Hyde added some of his 40 applications have been rejected, likely because of an error in the documentation.

“It’s not because of the cars, it’s strictly a paperwork issue,” he said, adding his customers have been helpful in supplying requested information.

Hyde said he has called the hotline to see how his applications for the trade-ins are progressing.

“I have had two of the applications rejected and the others are still going through the process,” Hyde said. “When I try to check on them by phone, I get lost in space.”

Because the dealers are required to apply for the rebate, Hyde said they have had to absorb the cost while the applications are reviewed.

“We have not received one penny yet,” Hyde said.

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