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More Trouble in Cash for Clunkers?

8:56 AM, Aug 15, 2009 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
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The program started late, cost $50 million to administer, crashed computers and ran out of money. All to see people spend money now that they would likely have spent later.

Now, this story says dealers are becoming frustrated that the government hasn't paid them for their deals - so frustrated that some believe it is no longer worth it to participate.

A growing number of auto dealers say the process of getting paid under the government's "cash for clunkers" plan increasingly resembles some of the wrecks accumulating on their lots as part of the program.

The slow payments coming from the federal government are reinforcing the paradoxical nature of the program for dealers: It has generated the most showroom traffic they have had in months while at the same time heaping unease, frustration and worry onto the industry's worst-ever downturn.

As of the close of business Friday, there was talk in the industry that some dealers are considering pulling out of the clunkers program altogether.

These dealers say they're counting on the money to cover expenses and that payments aren't coming as quickly as the government had promised.

"Dealers say they want to see at least some sign that they will be able to recoup that money. Still others need the money to pay bills and meet payroll," the story notes.

"They rolled the program out and told us we'd get paid in 10 days. It's been three weeks," said Jim Griffin, who owns dealerships in Milwaukee, Waukesha and Menomonee Falls.