Rachael and I have a 1997 Eagle Vision and thought that this car would qualify as a clunker. This would gives us a $4500 incentive to buy a new car. I checked cars.gov and found that there was only one version of the 1997 Eagle Vision that qualifies. This has the VMODE option. What the heck is VMODE? I checked every website to find that most think that VMODE has to do with the autostick option, which our Eagle Vision has.
So, we thought we would go to some dealerships and see if there is anything we like. We checked out a few dealerships and found that most of the dealers did not want to hassle with the cars for clunkers customers. It felt as if the 5-star service went down to 2-stars if there was any mention of a clunker. Most dealers would not offer any incentives if a customer was turning in a clunker, with the explanation that the $4500 was a good-enough incentive, even though the incentive was from the government.
Anways, we narrowed our search down to a Honda Civic LX-S and used the USAA car program (well recommended) to pre-negotiate rates. There were two nearby Honda dealers that were informed of my interest. A Honda dealer in Round Rock, TX emailed us a offer that was almost $2000 below MSRP. Rachael then called two other Honda dealers to see if they could beat that offer, but they first asked if we were doing the clunkers program and that they would not lower the price for customers with clunkers. Ridiculous! So, Rachael called the Round Rock, TX dealer and said we would take the offer and also added that we had a clunker. The dealer was a little irritated because they tried to make it a policy to hold back incentives for clunker customers, but the deal was already offered and he would honor the price.
So, we were ready to buy that Wednesday night, but before we could, we found we did not have the receipt for Eagle's registration to qualify as a clunker. So, we waited a day and Rachael picked up a duplicate at the county clerk on Thursday. The next day, Friday, we were ready to buy and were in the process of buying the car, but found that the dealer would not take the Eagle Vision as a clunker because they were not sure it qualified. They did not know what VMODE meant. So, we had to drop the offer and we are still stuck with the Eagle Vision. An even more interesting thing occurred the following Monday when the Round Rock dealer called me and told me the salesman that we were working with passed away that weekend. Poor guy.
Through all of this, it just proves to me more and more that government programs are just a hassle and sometimes can be lethal.