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No Cash for Clunkers?

The government’s popular Cash for Clunkers program is just about running out of gas. The U.S. Department of Transportation says the program will officially end on Monday. In the meantime, many dealers have already stepped on the brakes, fearing they won’t get paid. Bill Stamps has more.


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The National Automobile Dealers Association is advising dealerships not to take in any more old cars in the cash for clunkers program. They’re afraid dealers won’t get the money the government owes them.

Since July more than 400 thousand new vehicles have been sold under the program, with customers trading in old gas guzzlers and getting back up to 4,500 dollars towards the new car. But dealers have had to pay out of their pockets and wait to be reimbursed. Stephen Prather, manager at Houston’s Freeway Ford says the association sent him an email.

“Just basically stating that they’re not sure how many outstanding cash for clunkers claims there are and they’re asking people to slow down on doing it for today and be careful because they don’t know how much money is left in the pot.”

Prather says they haven’t received a single dollar from the government yet, but for them that hasn’t caused any problems.

“No, we knew it was going to be a long process, so we’re just waiting.”

Prather’s Ford Dealership may not be worried but many dealerships are. The manager at BMW in downtown Houston said he initially sold three cars under the program and then quit when they didn’t get paid.

Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood is trying to calm the fears of dealer’s. Telling them they will get paid. Still, the dealers association says no one really knows now many deals have been made. And if the money runs out it’s the dealers who may out of luck.

Bill Stamps. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.

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