U.K. hopes clunkers perk up auto sales
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Steve Chiotakis: Staying across the pond in Britain, the big "cash for clunkers" plan kicked off today. British drivers can now get some financial help for trading in an older vehicle. The plan is similar to one the U.S. Congress is debating. Our man in London, Stephen Beard, reports.
Stephen Beard: Under the British program, drivers will get a discount of $3,000 on a new car if they trade in a 10-year-old clunker. The cost of the discount will be shared equally between the U.K. government and the car dealers.
That means the dealers are unlikely to offer any extra discounts on top. But Britain's car industry needs any help it can get. New car sales in the U.K. have slumped by almost 30 percent so far this year.
Edmund King is Head of the Automobile Association. He thinks the incentive will work:
Edmund King: Already, we're seeing it is boosting interest in car sales. Many dealers in the U.K. have told me that for the first time, their phones are ringing. people are coming in, people are registering interest.
In the U.S., Congress is considering a cash-for-clunker benefit worth up to $4,500, with the government footing the entire $4 billion cost of the program.
In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.