Just as Dennis Hyundai learns how to handle the surge of customers wanting to swap clunkers for new cars, showroom traffic has begun to slow down.
The Dublin, Ohio, store is dealing again today after briefly suspending cash-for-clunker business Monday because of uncertainty over federal reimbursement, says senior sales manager Scott Masterson.
But while traffic is better than it has been in months, it has slowed from last weeks frantic pace, he adds.
There just arent that many people who have an old car and can afford to keep it insured for a year, Masterson says. Were running out of people who qualify.
Meanwhile, getting reimbursed for clunkers taken in trade continues to be a problem for dealers.
Robb Brown, owner of Brown Automotive Group in Toledo, Ohio, says today he hasnt been paid for any clunker trade-ins.
Weve submitted close to 75 deals, he says. Ive not been paid on any of them yet.
Masterson says: I dont have half my cars punched yet, but his staff is starting to get the hang of it and the processing Web site of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is crashing less often than it did last week.
He is still waiting for 22 of the 33 clunkers he took in trade during July to be approved. Monday, he was forced to ship the pending vehicles to a sister dealership in Columbus that had more parking space.
Masterson says the two dealerships had hoped that at least some of the vehicles being traded in would be worth more than the maximum $4,500 allowance available under the program. But he says only four of 100 trade-ins were worth salvaging.
We were hoping to create a used-car transaction, but there have been a lot of 200,000-mile vehicles, he says. Still, most months we sell about 70 new cars and we moved 103 in July.
Jamie LaReau contributed to this report