Clash For Clunkers comes to an end, was it worth it to car dealers? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/24/09

Clash For Clunkers comes to an end, was it worth it to car dealers?

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By Katie Bauer  - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The billion dollar turned $3-billion program has finally run its course, but what did local dealerships think about it, was it a success, or just too much stress? "I can say without hesitance at all that we've sold more vehicles than we would have, had we not participated," said General Manager of Gene Messer Ford Jimmy Stallings. 

Stallings says the Cash for Clunkers program has been a blessing as well as a headache all at the same time.  "To say that it hasn't benefited us would be false, it has definitely brought back volume levels that we were used to seeing before in the last 12, 16, 18 months," said

The Gene Messer Auto Group estimates they will receive about $1-million in government reimbursement, but so far they have not seen a penny.  "The question is not if we will get our money, but when" said Stallings.

Gene Messer put the brakes on the Cash for Clunkers program on Saturday, just so they would have time to get all the necessary paperwork complete. "You've got so many dealers that are using the exact same websites, Internet programs that help us handle these situations, we didn't want to be left holding a numerous amount of deals that we couldn't input into the system in time and be responsible for that money," said Stallings.

And they are not alone. "We're just very concerned about getting our money," said Chief Operating Officer of Auto, Inc Kevin Wilson.   

Auto, Inc is the owner of Frontier Dodge and three other dealerships around Lubbock. They opted to stop the program Saturday as well for the same reasons, but because of such a busy computer network, they have yet to get all of them done. "We have not been able to at this point, we probably have ten claims pending which would be roughly $40,000 that we can't even get submitted," said Wilson.

Both Wilson and Stallings agree the benefits of the Cash for Clunkers program outweigh the negatives, like filing paperwork and waiting for reimbursement. "We were definitely able to capitalize on it and get some additional business from a business standpoint, past that it has just been a huge paperwork mess, I call it a jig saw puzzle," said Wilson.  

Because of computer problems the government has extended the online paperwork deadline to Tuesday at noon for dealerships.

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