Although funding for the “Cash for Clunkers” program was removed from the Economic Stimulus bill passed by Congress last week, congressional supporters have vowed to include the provision in another piece of legislation, possibly an energy bill slated for debate this spring.
The Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) said it will continue to oppose the legislation.
“The aftermarket strongly opposes the use of ‘Cash for Clunkers’ programs, which threaten jobs in our industry by removing repair opportunities for vehicles and raising the cost of used cars and parts,” said Aaron Lowe, AAIA vice president, government affairs. “While these programs look good on paper, they have never been shown to be a cost effective means to improve fuel economy, reduce emissions or spur new car sales.”
However, National Auto Body Council (NABC) Executive Director Chuck Sulkala said in an open letter to the industry that the program would do a great deal to help collision repairers (click HERE to read the letter in its entirety).
“We repair new vehicles, not ‘clunkers.’ Our business will improve when the average age of vehicles on the road gets younger, not older,” Sulkala wrote. “Newer cars get repaired, older ones get totaled or never fixed. If we expect any sort of turnaround in the collision repair industry, then we need to help our customers get into newer vehicles. A ‘Cash for Clunkers’ proposal absolutely does that. By giving consumers a chance to get cash from the government for their old cars provided they buy new, more efficient cars, we’re giving a stimulus shot right into the heartland of America, our own local communities.”
Sulkala added that by creating a demand for new vehicles, “Cash for Clunkers” would also help auto manufacturers, lending institutions, dealerships and insurers.
The AAIA has added the “Cash for Clunkers” issue to the agenda for the Aftermarket Legislative Summit, scheduled for March 11-12 in Washington, D.C. The group said it hopes to educate lawmakers about the program’s potential pitfalls.
To register for the 2009 Aftermarket Legislative Summit, click HERE.