Dave Wilson, owner of Preston Automotive Group in Preston, Md., is still selling vehicles under the government-sponsored cash-for-clunkers program.
But hes nervous about it. So nervous that he has assigned an employee to conduct Internet searches every 15 minutes using the key words cash for clunkers suspension, in the event the government officially halts the program abruptly.
But in the meantime, Wilson said, his goal is to provide customers with the vehicles and service they want and deserve.
How do you tell a customer that youre not participating in a program when the government says the program is still running? said Wilson, who added that he has yet to see a penny of the at least $600,000 he is owed for the 150 vehicles sold under the incentive program.
Said Wilson: Im scared, but I dont have a choice.
Wilson is among the dealers who are still selling vehicles under the wildly popular cash-for-clunkers program -- but, at the same time, are heavily monitoring its status. Confusion arose over the weekend when rumors surfaced that the program had run out of money.
Some dealers canceled the program and restarted it after getting assurances from the federal government that the program was still on.
Adam Simms, owner of Toyota Sunnyvale in Sunnyvale, Calif., said he has sold more than 400 vehicles under the program.
This morning his telephone voice mail system was filled with messages from customers who say they want to buy vehicles using the cash-for-clunkers incentive. Simms salespeople have waiting lists of customers, he said.
Simms said he will continue to sell vehicles but is keeping in close contact with his local, state and national dealer associations about the programs status.
Well continue cautiously on a day-to-day basis, he said.
Simms said he has 90 vehicles on the ground today, compared with about 600 this time last year. But he said he has about 500 vehicles scheduled for delivery from Toyota over the next six weeks.
Its crazy, Simms said. Theres a ton of demand here.
John Thomas, general manger of Sands Chevrolet in Surprise, Ariz., said he is keeping tabs on the program through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and National Automobile Dealers Association.
Thomas said his store has sold about 20 vehicles under cash for clunkers since last Friday and is fielding more than 20 telephone inquiries about the program every day.
Some dealers have stopped the program, but based on the information we have, were obligated to honor it until its suspended, Thomas said. My understanding is that sales done under the program will be honored.
Bill Wallace, owner of Wallace Automotive Group in Stuart, Fla., said he never considered canceling the program at his stores even amid rumors that cash for clunkers was running out of money.
Thats because two-thirds of the 360 vehicles that he sold at his dealership since the programs rules were released July 24 were to people who wanted to buy new under the program but whose vehicles did not qualify.
About half of the vehicles sold outside of cash for clunkers were used, Wallace said.
We decided that we were going to go for it, he said. We had good luck switching people who didnt qualify.