WASHINGTON (AP) - Now comes the hard part for the auto industry -- luring customers without big Cash for Clunkers discounts.
The popular government rebates gave auto sales a jolt, but it was only temporary. Now car makers and dealerships are forced once again to confront the worst market in a quarter-century.
While Cash for Clunkers may have proved there are still car buyers out there, it's unlikely the heavy demand will last. In fact, the big rush to car lots this month may have had the unintended effect of stealing sales from this fall and next year.
Cash for Clunkers, which offered drivers as much as $4,500 off the price of a new, more fuel-efficient car, proved far more popular than anyone imagined. Through Monday, dealers reported selling 625,000 vehicles in just a month with the rebates.
The program ended Monday night.