Car dealers waiting for 'Clunkers' check

By Philippe Djegal - email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - For Classic Toyota in Tyler, the more than 80 clunkers on their lot is a beautiful sight. Why? Because it means more than 80 new car sales.

"This has been the biggest boost that we've seen in a long time," said Andrew Bertrand, a sales consultant for Classic Toyota.

Bertrand thinks the impact of the sales boom will keep on giving.

"Regardless about how many cars that we just sold - all those cars trickle back to our service department and our body shop eventually, and it's going to be a pyramid effect," said Bertrand.

"When the dust settles, it was a good program," said Monte Hall, with Hall Buick Pontiac GMC.

But, unfortunately, for many dealers, the dust has not settled quite yet.

"The sales are in the books, but, you know, as far as dealers actually being paid, that really hasn't been finalized," said Hall.

"We've got about $350,000 tied up in this right now," said Bertrand. "We haven't seen any money, yet, but we're hopeful."

According to the Department of Transportation, the program has been a success, with car buyers trading in tens of thousands of gas guzzlers for a more fuel efficient ride. As of last night's shut down, dealers had submitted more then 625,000 clunker applications totaling $2.58 billion.

"We're hopeful that we keep seeing the continued rise like you see in the home industry - it was just reported - homes sales are up," said Bertrand. "You're going to see car sales are up too."

"I think this really ignited that, and got things even more moving forward and got things rolling even better," said Hall.

"If the government actually comes through and pays everybody every penny that they think they're supposed to get, they should go ahead and reinstate this program at some point," said Bertrand.

But, some East Texas car dealers say that's a big "if." There was such a high volume of car dealers submitting applications for re-payment Tuesday that the deadline for filing those applications was extended eight hours to seven o'clock Tuesday night.

©2009 KLTV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.