Cash for Clunkers not maxing out salvage yard

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The U.S. Senate voted to extend the Cash for Clunkers program this week with an additional $2 billion.

The vote creates more chances for consumers to get up to a $4,500 rebate and more opportunities for auto dealers to boost sales.

It also means more work for salvage yards.

The program requires dealers to sell “clunkers” to salvage yards, which in turn must remove the car’s engine, drain all fluids from the vehicle and shred or crush the car.

Salvage yards receive no cash for destroying clunkers, but they do get some money for selling metal to recyclers. Randy VanGundy, owner and manager of VanGundy’s Ampco Inc. in Grand Junction, sells his metal scrap from crushed cars to recyclers in Denver and Salt Lake City, where the flattened cars will be melted down or shredded.

While some salvage yards in other parts of the country have complained the cash for clunkers program has created more business than they can handle, VanGundy said he hasn’t been overwhelmed so far.

“We can handle 100 cars a day. I haven’t been getting that,” he said.

Last year, VanGundy’s crushed about 6,000 cars, he said.

“It has brought in a few,” he said of the clunkers program. “It adds to our day, no doubt about that, but it’s not overwhelming, because it’s a slow economy anyway.”

VanGundy’s pays dealers for bringing cars in and receives money by the ton from recycling businesses.

VanGundy said the cars that dealers have brought to him have come in a wide variety.

“It seems like you see a few decent vehicles and a few actual clunkers,” he said.


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