Many dealers, even those with only a handful of cash-for-clunkers deals left to submit to the government, grew increasingly anxious this afternoon as they faced an inoperative government Web site and an 8 p.m. deadline that was eventually twice extended.
My guys and girls are at each store, just sitting on the computer, just hoping they can get in for a second to submit, Florida dealer Sandy Sansing said before the government pushed back the deadline a first time. Theyre frantic.
Sansing, who owns Chevrolet, Nissan, Mazda, BMW and Mini stores in Pensacola, Fla., said his six stores had submitted 190 cash-for-clunkers deals total, but still had a handful they had hoped to submit today.
Dealers said the governments online filing system shut them out for most of the day while they faced an 8 p.m. EDT application deadline. Late in the afternoon, the government extended the filing deadline to noon Tuesday and later stretched it again until some time past noon as the computer outages went unsolved.
The system also had been shut briefly for maintenance on Saturday and Sunday.
Sansings dealerships outstanding applications had been mostly completed, he said, but the dealership employees were planning today to open them, add an item or two to each one and press the submit button.
Sansing said he stopped sales for the cash-for-guzzlers incentive on Friday, when the governments computer system also crashed. His stores had 25 to 30 deals left to submit at that time. But employees who came in over the weekend didnt finish all of them, he said.
Other dealers reported similar situations. Dealer Tom Durant said employees at his Chevrolet store in Grapevine, Texas, had caught up on uploading the 178 deals they had completed through the weekend. But they completed a few more this morning and were hoping to upload them, he said.
Its a big deal, Durant said, although he insisted on staying calm. I think if you worry about it too much, youll be going crazy.
Dealer Chris Haydocys employees were trying to upload one or two deals today, but kept running into computer roadblocks, he said.
It cant even find the URL, which is just crazy, he said, relaying the gist of the latest error message employees were seeing at his two stores in Columbus and Bucyrus, Ohio.
Thats why Carl Galeana, owner of Van Dyke Dodge in suburban Detroit, stopped all his cash-for-clunkers sales Friday, which he said didnt hurt his weekend prospects much.
I told my people I thought that there could probably be problems with the site with everyone trying to enter them in at the last minute, he said. We didnt have a lot of inventory anyway, so it wasnt a big deal.