Saturday, August 1, 2009
With all the hullabaloo of the past few days of the cash for clunkers program, I decided to go on a conservative girl adventure. I happen to have a car that is older, almost 16 years old to be exact. There is nothing wrong with it and it has very low mileage for being an older car. So, I don’t need to buy a new car. If I found a good deal on what I wanted I may have actually taken advantage of it.
Well, it really was an adventure. My first choice for a car purchase would be a used car, as I don’t think it is necessary to spend tens of thousands of dollars on something that immediately loses value. That is not an option with this program. I was very upfront with the people who were helping me, that I really just wanted to look into the program and didn’t want to take up too much of their time.
I set out as soon as the dealerships opened thinking that the flow of people would be less and I wouldn’t feel bad about taking time away from someone who really would buy something. I first went to the Toyota dealership. They were very busy, which is a good thing for the commission sales people. I was told within 15 minutes that my car didn’t qualify for the program. The sales person looked at my engine and went to his computer and came back and told me that my car gets a combined 20mpg and that the car had to be 18 or less to qualify. Due to the fact that my car is older it doesn’t get that, but I guess that is neither here nor there.
The street that the dealership is on is a big main road that has many dealerships on it. So I thought to myself why not go and see if I get the same answer from all. So my next stop was the Honda dealership. I had a very hard time finding a salesperson to talk to me. Again, very good news for the salespeople who work there, they will make some money this week. I again told the salesperson that I didn’t want to take a great deal of their time and just wanted some questions answered. This dealership told me that I qualified for the $3500 rebate and told me that I had to purchase a car that got a combined 24mpg. I thanked the salesperson and told him I would look around to see if I liked any of the cars that would qualify. I was very surprised to find out that I could get a hybrid for less money than the Accord. I personally don’t have a problem with hybrids. I actually kind of like the idea of buying a car that would save me quite a bit of money on gas.
I didn’t even to get into my car to make my way over to the next dealership. A Volvo/Volkswagen dealership is directly next door. My very first new car was a Volkswagen and I drove that car into the ground, and never had to change the clutch. So, I think they are good cars. I went into my spiel about just wanting a few answers, this dealership told me that I qualify for the full $4500 and only needed to find a car that got a combined 23mpg.
So then I decided to stop at the Ford dealership. This dealership gave me the same answer as the Honda dealership except that they told me that I had to get a car with a minimum of a combined 25mpg. I then looked at a few cars there and found a few that would fit into that. I then decided to ask how this rebate system worked. This is where it got a little dicey. I would have to go through the normal credit application process, and then I would have to fill out some paperwork for the rebate. After I was approved for the credit I would then have to leave my car with them, take the new car with a dealership plate. I was also told that I had to sign an agreement that if I didn’t qualify for the government program I would either return the car or pay them the $3500. So I asked the women why I would sign something that said I may have to pay for rebate program when she told me that I do qualify. Her answer was that with the system being a little backed up and the program up in the air they would need that just in case and that it would be fine. I understand that they work on commission and times for them have not been good lately. I have no problem with her trying to make some money. I am just not comfortable with the idea of signing something like that.
At the end of the day, I am not going to get a new car. I don’t need it. But what I really walked away with was the belief that I definitely don’t want the government to run my healthcare, when they can’t even run a program like this. I talked to four different people and got four different answers. If they can’t administer a program like this, there is no way they can administer a program for healthcare coverage for every American.