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First Consumers to Get 'Cash For Clunkers' In The United States

First Consumer To Get "Cash For Clunkers" In New York City Could Be The First In The Country To Take Advantage Of The Government Funded $4500 Rebates For Consumers Buying New, More Fuel Efficient Car

NEW YORK, July 15 /PRNewswire/ -- One of the first consumers to get Cash for their clunker in The United States bought a new Honda Odyssey from www.ParagonCars.com, one of a handful of dealers who are helping consumers take advantage of the government program before all the rules have been announced. The federal stimulus program, which provides up to $4,500 to car owners who trade in their old "clunker" for a new, more fuel efficient alternative, was signed into law by President Obama. According to the law, consumers qualify for the program starting July 1st through November 1st, but the rules of the program are still being worked out by the NHTSA and will be announced at the end of July.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090715/NY46916 )

The U.S. Department of Transportation issued a warning to tell dealers not to sell cars before the 23rd because "dealers structuring transactions before the final rule is issued will bear the risks associated with later demonstrating that the transaction meets all of the specifications of the final rule." Paragon announced at the end of June that it decided to help consumers take advantage of the program starting July 1(st) when the law is in effect. "When consumers in New York heard about the program, they wanted to participate on July 1st because the law says they can, so we wanted to make it easy for them," said Brian Benstock of www.ParagonCars.com. "We are willing to take the risk to satisfy consumers who otherwise would be upset that they could not participate when the law states."

The first consumer in New York to benefit from www.ParagonCars.com's program traded in their Nissan clunker to get a new Honda with the help of the trade allowance provided by the dealership. The first known customer to benefit from the program was a Woodhaven, New York resident, Christopher Chosam, who exchanged his rusted 1998 Nissan Pathfinder SUV (value of $400) for a brand new Honda Odyssey minivan with the help of the $3500 rebate. The clunker had no air conditioning and was in need of over $2,000 in maintenance just to keep it on the road. The old Nissan costs more to run than the new van because of its repair costs and gas bills according to Chosam. The new Honda will costs thousands less to fuel because it gets 22mpg compared to the Nissan Pathfinder which only got 14mpg. "I've been driving it for a week, and I still have a half a tank of gas," Chosam said. "The old car, I would have filled it up already." "This is our first customer, but we don't know for sure that they are the first customer in the country to take advantage of the program," said Brian Benstock. The program ends when the $1 billion budget expires, which is after approximately 250,000 rebates are issued. This process gives consumers assurance that they will get their paperwork ready for the government funded rebate before the 23rd so they can get the rebate before the money runs out, which could be only a matter of weeks since over a million cars have been sold during good months in the car business.

Shortly after Paragon announced their program, Hyundai Motor Company, South Korea's largest carmaker, announced they are advancing money to U.S. dealers so they can advance the money to the consumer. The payments cover new-vehicle credits for consumers until the federal government completes rules for the program this month and begins paying dealers, Hyundai spokesman Chris Hosford said Thursday. Hyundai is the first manufacturer to extend such advances, he said. "We are helping consumers take advantage of the program early before the funds expire," said Rick Case, who has 6 Hyundai stores that are members of one of the most successful automotive groups in the world.

Dealers Add Incentives to Government Rebate Program:

The biggest supporters of the Cash For Clunkers bill have been large dealer groups who see it as an opportunity to boost their own businesses and regional economies which are heavily dependent on car sales. Larger dealers have more incentive due to their larger inventories and the need to reduce them in this economic environment. Some of these dealers have aggressive marketing campaigns that promise to match the government's rebate which give consumers a savings of up to $9,000 off a qualifying vehicle. "We can match the amount of the government funding on some vehicles because vehicle supply is larger than demand and we need to reduce our inventory," said Rick Case from www.RickCase.com Consumers that don't qualify for the government program still benefit from the extraordinary dealer and manufacturer incentive programs available due to high inventory levels and manufacturer programs designed to woo the clunker consumer to spend their government funded rebate with them.

Dealership Sponsored Information Portals:

The government has set up a website to give consumers access to the legislation (http://www.cars.gov/index.php/official-information), but dealers have the job of making it simple for consumers who must work with a participating dealer to retrieve their government funded rebates. Many dealers are taking that job very seriously. Many large automotive groups have launched consumer information portals to educate customers in their local markets about the program. "We are informing all the consumers in our market so they can take advantage of this historic opportunity," said Rick Case. "By informing more consumers it will help us, them, the economy and the environment at the same time," said Scott Gruwell from Courtesy Chevrolet (www.CourtesyChev), one of the largest Chevy dealers in the country. Some of the information sites are www.ClunkersAZ.com in Phoenix Arizona which is sponsored by www.CourtesyChev.com, www.CashForClunkersDC.com in Washington DC and Virginia is sponsored by www.Sheehy.com, www.CashForClunkersNY.com in New York City is sponsored by www.ParagonCars.com and www.ClunkersUS.com in Florida, Atlanta, and Ohio sponsored by Rick Case Automotive. Consumers are flocking to these sites because they can determine how much they may qualify for within a few clicks of a mouse. "We have sponsored the regional consumer information portal for www.CashForClunkersInformation.org, a national organization that has promoted the bill since its inception in congress," said Benstock. The most popular tool on www.CashForClunkersInformation.org is the Clunker Calculator, which helps consumers quickly determine if their current vehicle meets the 18 mpg or fewer requirements to qualify for the $4,500 voucher. These sites also include a list of the vehicles that are ideal candidates for the $4,500 vouchers and help consumers get product and pricing information directly from the dealer online.

Celebrities Support Www.Cashforclunkersinformation.Org

CashForClunkersInformation.org and its regional consumer information sites have received an important push from celebrities like Dancing With The Stars' Cristian de la Fuente and Ugly Betty star Angelica Vale to educate consumers about the program. "This government subsidy will make it easy for people to get a new car that is a lot less expensive to operate and maintain because of the great gas mileage and lack of repair costs," said Cristian de la Fuente. "This program helps hardworking people who need the financial support," Angelica Vale added, "Finally consumers are getting a bailout." Since a large number of the clunkers on the road are owned by minorities and immigrants, these communities will benefit significantly from this legislation. "We have passionately supported Cash For Clunkers because of its positive impact on the environment, economy, consumers and its benefits for hundreds of Hispanic American communities whose livelihoods are tied to the auto industry," said Alfonso Aguilar, the former Chief of the U.S. Office of Citizenship. "This legislation will create thousands of new jobs for all Americans who work in the many businesses that serve the automotive industry."

About Paragon Auto Group

Paragon Automotive group is one of the top automotive retailers in the world and are the #1 Certified Pre-Owned Honda and Acura dealers in the United States. Paragon has 5 locations throughout New York and its flagship store in Queens has been in the same location since 1929. The automotive group has become known for their record breaking certified volume and extraordinarily high customer satisfaction scores in a competitive New York market with consumers that expect the best. Paragons franchises include Honda, Acura and all makes and models in their multiple Certified Pre-Owned centers located throughout the city.

About the Cash for Clunkers Information:

www.CashForClunkersInformation.org is a national organization that promoted the CARS legislation from its inception in the congress and helps consumers learn about the program and connect with local retailers who can help them get product and pricing information. The Cash For Clunkers Information Websites are consumer information portals, not a government website, and they are designed to give the consumer a simple summary of the program and the ability to contact a local dealer.

About the Name - Cash For Clunkers: The Cash for Clunkers Information portals refer to all the international and national vehicle scrappage programs as "Cash For Clunkers" because of the popular name given to the concept by the public and the press.

RELEVANT ARTICLES:

NY Post: http://www.nypost.com/seven/07142009/news/regionalnews/queens/car_dealer_betting_on_ol_beater_179115.htm

Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124700905873408471.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

US News & World Report

http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/cars-trucks/daily-news/090710-Cash-...

Automotive News:

http://www.autonews.com/article/20080204/ANA04/802040309

RELEVANT WEBSITES

www.CashForClunkersNY.com

www.ParagonCars.com

www.CashForClunkersInformation.org

www.DineroPorSuCarcacha.com

www.CashForClunkersDC.com

www.CashForClunkersOhio.com

www.ClunkersUS.com

www.ClunkersAZ.com

www.Cars.gov

SOURCE Paragon Auto Group

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