“We sold every single car in the show room yesterday and they had to bring in new cars. I’m not sure if the government has responded to the applications,” said an operator who did not identify herself before hanging up at Melloy Nissan in Albuquerque, NM. “Everyone is way too busy to talk on the phone.”
Others were more than happy to speak at length about their concerns.
“We’re making a few dollars, but if I have to fight uncle Sam to get the money back it’s not worth it,” said Charles Delorenzo, the owner of Quality Jeep-Chrysler in Albuquerque, NM. “The computers are all down, there is so much paperwork, customers are frustrated because of the paper work and the value of their current car changing from the time they leave home to when they come in.”
Delorenzo said that Quality Jeep-Chrysler wouldn’t be honoring the cash-for-clunkers deal if they were still unsure about the prospects for reimbursement by close of business on Friday. Amanda Grover, the Corporate Controller of the Murdoch Hyundai Auto Group in Salt Lake City, Utah, said that its dealerships were also skeptical about continuing on with the incentive program. Their Hyundai branch in Orem, UT has 70 applications pending in the government system, and she compared the filing system to “pulling teeth.”
Many dealerships said that personnel were working as early as 5am and as late as midnight to try and beat the “slow period” during business hours where the government’s computer system was most difficult to operate.
“Knowing what we're dealing with, it is a government-run program. If we're all being honest, we want to say we don’t have the most confidence in what we're getting involved in,” said Dowen. “Really, this kind of open endedness – all we know is there's a billion dollars. After that runs out, do we get left hanging?”