'Cash for Clunkers' program short-lived

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PHOENIX - The feds have abruptly put a stop to the "Cash for Clunkers" program on Thursday.

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Gov't suspends 'Cash for Clunkers' program

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There may be money trouble. The White House will not say what the program's fate is but says it is under review.

In the meantime, a Valley Ford dealership received word from corporate earlier Thursday evening that effective 9 p.m. local time, Cash for Clunkers is officially suspended. "Let's hope it's just suspended and not terminated," says John Nissen of Earnhardt Ford. He says the Cash for Clunkers program really revved up business. He admits, "It's worked wonders. Over the last 6 days we sold 25 additional vehicles."

The government program started this week offering $3,500 to $4,500 incentives to owners of old gas guzzling vehicles who trade them in for more fuel efficient ones.

But the rules, paperwork and processing of such deals is not easy on dealerships.

In fact of the 25, the dealership has in the pipe line, not one has been government-approved, at least not yet.

Nissen says, "That's what we've advanced the customer and Iwe don't get reimbursed that we already given to them don't think they will come back and give us the money back."

It is still unclear why exactly the government Car Allowance Rebate System or cars has stalled. Sources say the government is worried they will run out of money but its own website shows almost 780 million of the $1 billion allotment still available. Dealerships remain hopeful this is only another bump in the road before the program gets back on track and accelerates sales.

Nissen admits, "Just hope the program continues definitely. It's good for the economy and good for the environment."

The White House released a statement late on Thursday saying consumers and dealerships should be confident that all valid transactions that have taken place so far will be honored.

As for what the future holds for the cars program, we will have to wait and see. 3TV will follow this story and bring you the latest as it becomes available.