'Cash for Clunkers' proposal moves forward, to SEMA's chagrin

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The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) says it is "disappointed" that lawmakers and the administration have reached an agreement on a proposal to establish a national “Cash for Clunkers” program.

"SEMA recognizes the urgent need to direct economic stimulus towards automakers and dealerships, and protect the environment," it said in an official statement. "SEMA has consistently supported the concept of government–issued vouchers and other incentives to purchase new, fuel-efficient cars as a mechanism to achieve that goal."

However, the association believes Congress is taking the wrong approach with a program that includes offering vouchers as an incentive for vehicle owners to replace their cars and light trucks with new, more fuel efficient vehicles.

(See "Associations oppose Cash for Clunkers program," Jan. 9, 2009, and "SEMA challenges Cash for Clunkers claims," April 15, 2009, for more information.)

SEMA says scrappage programs would deny vouchers to the majority of people who may want to buy a new car, but don’t have an eligible older car to trade.

"Instead, these programs will be misused by those who own two or three older cars and seek to take advantage of the taxpayer give-away. Many of these cars aren’t frequently driven, if at all, so destroying them will not clean the nation’s air or make us less dependent on foreign oil."

SEMA says it will "continue to work with lawmakers to find ways to minimize the harm a motor vehicle scrappage program will needlessly impose on thousands of independent repair shops, auto restorers, customizers and their customers across the country." Instead, the organization will promote "a government incentive program that will help clean the environment, provide for vehicle and parts recycling, and preserve collector cars for future generations."

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