Dealers worry they won't get cash from "Clunkers" program - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Dealers worry they won't get cash from "Clunkers" program


MADISON (WKOW) -- At John Lancaster Toyota in Madison, it's slim pickings for new cars.

Clunkers make up most of the car lot.

"Even though we are giving it away, the Government needs to reimburse us for the costs and that puts us in a pretty tough spot," says sales director John Wineke.

Since the Cash for Clunkers program started, Wineke says they've sold more than 200 cars, but the government has only reimbursed them for about 30.

An issue all dealerships are going through.

"Some have even bowed out of the program, because they are advancing all these sales and they're basically going out on a limb thinking they'll get reimbursed by the government, not knowing if they'll get their money. Many are afraid they won't get their money," says Deborah Mitchell from the UW School of Business.

Leaving dealerships thousands and some millions in the red.

Winkeke says they only have about 30 new cars left on their lot that qualify for the Clunker program, and although buyers are allowed to order cars if they're not on the lot.

Wineke says they'll only close the deal when the car comes in.

"Its not our money to spend, its the government's. So we don't want to put ourselves in a position that we could lose hundreds or thousands or millions of dollars."

Wineke says they have about 60 car orders pending, but with a Monday deadline, they may only get about a third of those cars in.

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