Can we say dealers left twisting in the wind over the long haul?
"Car Dealers Still Waiting On 'Clunkers' Cash
CHICAGO (CBS) ?
"Here's the figure: $2.878 billion. That's how much money the government owes car dealers for the "Cash for Clunkers" program.
More than $200 million of that is owed to dealers in Illinois and Indiana, so CBS 2's Mai Martinez checked with some of them to see how much money they've collected from Uncle Sam.
Now that the popular program has ended, many dealerships are asking the federal government to "show me the money."
"Out of 142 deals they owe us for, we've gotten paid on seven," Lou Tornabeni of Ettleson Hyundai said.
"We had 102 cash for clunkers," Carm Scarpace of Westfield Ford said. "We've been paid for one."
With each Cash for Clunkers deal worth between $3,500 and $4,500, many dealerships are anxiously awaiting their government payday.
Some, like Advantage Chevrolet, which sold cars up until the last minute, have more than half a million dollars on the line.
"It was chaotic towards the end," Jason Roberts said.
Roberts says his dealership sold 142 cars under the program -- for a total of about $568,000 in government rebates. So far, the dealership has only been paid about $68,000 for about 17 of the deals, which means Uncle Sam still owes them roughly $500,000.
"It's not crippling, but it definitely affects the cash flow on a regular basis," Roberts said.
Roberts says his dealership can handle the cash crunch, but others may not be as lucky, especially if they didn't follow the government's strict guidelines for the program.
"We know of one dealer that sold 40 cars under the Cash for Clunkers programs, and out of those 40 cars, he's expecting to get paid on eight," Roberts said.
But even those who did follow the guidelines say they won't rest easy until they have the cash in hand. For Westfield Ford, that's about $400,000.
"You're always nervous when the money's out there, but you've got to believe in the government," Scarpace said. "It should come back to us."
The million-dollar – or should we say, billion-dollar -- question now is when? Dealers say they don't know, but it can't come soon enough.
One of the dealers told us, originally, the government was supposed to pay them within 10 days of receiving their paperwork. But with more than 690,000 cars sold under the program, that dealer says he's not expecting payment for another 30 to 45 days."
08/31/2009 4:59 PM
Dealers Still Waiting For Clunker Cash
Source KELOLAND TV
"Auto makers will release their monthly sales reports Tuesday and they're expected to show the first year-to-year increase since 2007. While the Cash for Clunkers program is getting all the credit, local car dealers are still waiting for their cash.
During the month long program, Billion Automotive sold close to a thousand vehicles but has only been reimbursed for 272 of them. Vern Eide sold over 200 cars and has only been paid for 27 of them, and that's fueling lots of concerns in the auto industry.
Billion Automotive cashed in during Cash for Clunkers, but owner Dave Billion is still waiting for the rest of his money from the government run program, $3.2 million.
"I wonder how long they'd wait if I owed them $3.2 million. I think they'd be at my door or at least my banker's door," Billion said.
Even though Billion is beginning to get some of his reimbursement money, he's still concerned because he says there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to the program.
When Cash for Clunkers was first announced, dealers were supposed to be reimbursed within 10 days of a sale. Billion says that hasn't happened.
"The program started in July and we haven't gotten paid for cars we sold back then, but then on the other hand we got paid for a car we sold last week. They don't have an accurate format. It's not like they're taking the first deals that were submitted and working those. I don't know how they're doing it, no idea. I know it's very random" Billion said.
Plus, he's had problems getting some vehicles qualified.
"We had a situation where we had a submission, they rejected it for multiple reasons. We didn't see anything wrong with it, so we resubmitted it. They rejected, we resubmitted it. They rejected it, seven times and finally they paid it, and we never changed a single thing on it," Billion said.
But Billion thinks he'll get his money eventually, it just may take longer than what the government first said."