WASHINGTON -- Dealer claims for cash-for-clunkers rebates continued to climb late last week after it became clear that the program would get $2 billion in new funding.
Dealers had submitted 273,077 applications totaling $1.15 billion as of Monday morning, the Department of Transportation said today.
Thats about $120 million above the figure of last Friday morning.
The department did not say show how many claims were rejected or approved and did not specify how much was reimbursed to dealers.
Many dealers raced to file claims last week after the Obama administration threatened to cut off funding for the program if the Senate didnt extend the clunkers program before it recessed.
But the claims submitted last Friday and over the weekend were consistent with the daily amounts for most of last week.
Interest starting to decline
Meanwhile, consumer interest in the Clunkers program declined 15 percent from a July 29 peak to Aug. 8, and will sink to pre-program levels by Aug. 20 if trends hold, Edmunds.com said.
"Consumers hurried to take advantage before funding ran out," Edmunds.com analyst Michelle Krebs said. "With additional funding now approved, there is no longer an urgency to participate in the program."
Edmunds.com, an automotive consumer database, uses a so-called "intent index" that measures customer activity on its Web site. The measurements pick up research on pricing, vehicle configurations and other hardcore variables.
The Clunkers program began in earnest on Monday, July 27 and reached its interest peak two days later, Edmunds.com said. Although it has jumped down and up since then, the index had fallen 15 percent as of Saturday, Aug. 8, Edmunds.com said today.
Last Friday, President Barack Obama signed legislation that added $2 billion to the $1 billion program. The bill was passed by the Senate the night before.
A number of dealers have complained that longstanding rebate claims have not been paid.