The industry that will be the end of the line for the clunkers being traded at car dealers has not entirely bought into the program. Today the industry calls itself vehicle recyclers, members. Many are members of the Missouri Auto and Truck Recyclers Association.
Board member J. C. Shoemyer of Monroe City calls the "cash for clunkers" program "a bad deal more than it’s a good deal." He and his fellow recyclers say that the requirement that clunker engines be locked up is a killer because as much as eighty percent of an old car’s value is in the engine and the driveline.
Association Secretary Dan Richardson, who has run a salvage yard in Kansas City for 42 years, says the program starts out by putting dealers in a bind with the engine-lockup requirement: "They’re kind of hanging off waiting to see when they get their money to freeze the engines. A lot of dealers when they first got them, they froze the engines within seven days and they haven’t got their money so they kind of got worried because they’ve got a car sitting back there that they’ve got $4500 in and if they don’t get their money, they’re stuck."
He says salvage yard operators like him won’t pay much for a clunker without a working engine because they won’t make much on the fenders, wheels, and other parts before the government-mandated deadline for crushing or shredding the clunker’s hulk.
Richardson,the secretary of the association, calls the situation "scary."
Shoemyer says he’ll take only a few clunkers., Richardson says he knows only one recycler who has bought any of them…and he’s bought only a few.