Clunker dealers dash for deal approvals

Steve Henn Aug 24, 2009
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Clunker dealers dash for deal approvals

Steve Henn Aug 24, 2009
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Bill Radke: After an amazing run, Cash for Clunkers comes to a stop today. Marketplace’s Steve Henn says the program’s been a boon to manufactures autoworkers and dealers. But some dealers worry they are leaving money on the table.

Steve Henn: When all is said and done Clunkers will help U.S. auto dealers sell more than a million cars this August. But processing the paperwork has not been easy for many dealers.

AutoNation, the country’s biggest chain of dealerships, stopped accepting clunker deals Friday. Over the weekend a company spokesperson estimated the feds owed it about $45 million in reimbursements. To make sure that all AutoNation deals are approved before the deadline later today the company has pulled hundreds of back office staff and dealers into a special call center. Employees are entering deals on the federal Web site around the clock.

The Transportation Department is promising dealers will be paid. Before the weekend rush, the Cash for Clunkers program had tallied nearly half a million in sales. By the time the dust settles tonight that total could rise by nearly $250,000.

In Washington, I’m Steve Henn for Marketplace.

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