DETROIT -- About two-thirds of dealers responding to an Automotive News survey this week have received no payment from the U.S. government for their cash-for-clunkers sales. Payment has been received for fewer than 3 percent of total deals, survey respondents said.
The resulting cash crimp is hurting their dealerships, many dealers said. About one-quarter of the respondents said cash-flow problems are serious enough to put their businesses at risk or to require that they borrow money to cover the shortages.
"The lack of cash is killing us," one dealer said in the survey. "The lack of any kind of feedback from the government for the rebate applications is appalling."
Nearly 800 dealers participated in the online survey, which is not scientific.
As of this morning, dealers had submitted 457,476 cash-for-clunkers transactions for reimbursements worth $1.91 billion, according to the Department of Transportation.
The program, which will end Monday at 8 p.m. EDT, is funded for $3 billion. The government hasn't disclosed reimbursement amounts. But it appears that only a tiny percentage of the claims have been paid, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association, some state dealer association surveys and now the Automotive News survey.