WASHINGTON -- National Automobile Dealers Association officials asked the government to suspend the cash-for-clunkers program because a survey by the group found that the $3 billion fund has been exhausted, NADA Chairman John McEleney said.
"We asked them to put a halt to the program -- I think we said 'very soon' -- but a suspension at midnight tonight would make sense," McEleney said in an interview Wednesday. "Our survey opened the eyes of the Transportation Department."
A suspension would allow dealers to submit all pending claims and permit the government to process them so that a precise determination could be made of how much money, if any, is left in the program, he said.
NADA conducted an informal electronic survey of its 18,000 members earlier this week, McEleney said. A limited number responded, and the findings were extrapolated, he said.
Transportation has been conducting its own dealer surveys. Federal and NADA officials are comparing notes, using the two sets of findings to draw conclusions about funding availability, McEleney said.