Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cash For Clunkers Has Clunker Website

Auto dealers the nation over are praising the cash-for-clunkers program for filling their showrooms with folks ready to buy. According to most estimates, somewhere between 700,000 and 800,000 units moved in connection to the program. How many of them would have moved anyway absent government incentives which allowed dealers to make more money per car? Er, not clear. What will the effect of the $3 billion in tax dollars being sucked out of one end of the economy and thrown into the backseat of a new Prius? Also not clear (though shouldn't all cash for clunk receipients be forced to give rides to anyone who asks for as long as they own the car?). Exactly when and how the trade-ins will be destroyed? Also not clear (though would make great video, for sure, especially if Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood personally destroys all vehicles).

This much, however, is clear: The government's website that was supposed to handle all dealer claims sucks worse than your grandpa's Pinto:

"We continue to address technical problems with the CARS Web site, and have determined that the Web site will not be fully functional before [this] morning," the Transportation Department said in a statement sent to dealers late Monday evening. "Dealers should be assured that they will be provided time to submit pending deals equivalent to the time that was lost this afternoon while the system was down."

The feds have made various noises about not reimbursing dealers who are either late with paperwork or can't access the broken site in a timely enough fashion. Expect the followup on this "successful" stimulus program to be about as dogged and high-profile as news from the war in Afghanistan. Here's a Dallas dealer's lament from yesterday, the last day of the program:

"Any deal you do today, there's certainly a high risk of not getting paid," he said. "Unfortunately, there will be some dealers who will be hurt financially by this program. There are probably some nervous lending institutions, too."

Dallas-area sales are down 37.5 percent from last year, btw.


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This blog is about my opinions and world view.  I am a conservative, evangelical Christian.  Generally speaking, if you post a comment, I'll allow you to express your view.  However, if you say something hateful, untruthful, or just generally something I don't like, I may remove it.

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