Montgomery dealers waiting for 'Clunkers' money

Posted by Cody Holyoke - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Stacks of paperwork are piling up at car dealerships--all because of the struggling 'Cash for Clunkers' program.

Customers filed as many as 80 claims at some dealers.

It's great for business, but showrooms eat the loss themselves until they're reimbursed.

That's means as much as $360,000 gridlocked in the pipeline.

"Really, you're booking the deal like the money's all there. So, until the money gets there, you're out that money, and obviously you don't get any interest on it," said Dean Vette, General Manager of Capitol Chevrolet.

While customers can't get enough of the government rebate, some local dealers say it's just too much to bear the financial burden as they wait for a check from Uncle Sam.

"It's been a successful program.  We just need to make sure we're paid for what we've done," explained Franklin Greene, General Manager of Montgomery Ford-Lincoln-Mercury.

Green's business, like hundreds of dealers nationwide, refuses to honor the rebate program.

"The banker still wants to be paid tomorrow, so you have to be as cautious as your pockets are deep," Greene said.

Government officials say they're working as fast as they can.

"They're going to get their money.  We have the money. Congress provided the money. They're going to get their money," said Ray LaHood, U.S. Secretary of Transportation.

That promise works for some businesses.

"As far as we know, we still have the green light, and we're going to keep doing it," Vette said.

Others, however, are putting the brakes on 'Cash for Clunkers' until they get the financial fuel they need to continue.

"The bottom line is you need to protect yourself. You can have some risk, but you don't want to risk it all," Greene explained.

Dealers say the program did spark sales for new and used cars.

WSFA 12 News tried contacting our Alabama delegation of senators and congressmen for comment.

Senator Richard Shelby, who opposed the program from the start, maintains it's a bad idea.

Representative Mike Rogers supported the measure but says he also spoke out about its potential shortcomings.

Stay tuned to WSFA 12 News for any updates.

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