August 21 2009, 12:11 PM
Don Hicks, who has overseen about 100 Cash for Clunkers deals in about a month at his Shortline Auto Group dealerships, says the federal government owes him $450,000. Dealers are supposed to be paid within 10 days of filing a reimbursement request, but he's still waiting on the money, and his creditors aren't very forgiving, as you may imagine. Still, Hicks tells The Denver Post, "We are going to keep going. Just because some of the other guys are dropping out, that leaves more money for the rest of us." But he'll have to work fast to find the Cash for Clunkers stragglers. The program, which provides $3,500-$4,500 to trade a gas guzzler for a vehicle that gets better mileage, ends Monday. The government might well have dished out $3 billion on the frenzy, but the program has many dealers hoping the government won't leave them hanging. As Bloomberg News writes, the program has fueled not only sales but "dealer anger." As of Thursday, the program had spent $1.9 billion on more than 450,000 transactions, whereas the Department of Transportation had doled out just $140 million for 150,000 applications, according to Newsday. The Clunkers program has left some auto recyclers peeved because it requires the destruction of vehicles with perfectly good used parts, The Associated Press recently reported. If you're in a car-buying mood, read Time before you go out to meet with the "Dealin' Dougs" of the world.