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Area dealer tally, as of Aug. 17: 2,423 CARS deals, 40 government payouts

November 15, 2010
Officials continue to battle issues as CARS program nears end A query of CATA dealers on government reimbursements to them under the Car Allowance Rebate System, or CARS, found on Aug. 17 that just 7 percent of all the transactions the dealers had submitted were approved by auditors, and that that payouts had been issued on only 1.6 percent of the deals.

The 47 dealerships that responded to the poll reported an average 52 CARS transactions to date. Eight of them worked 100 or more CARS deals. The top two said they submitted a combined 370 deals to the government but had been paid for just one of them.

The CARS program’s $3 billion funding would provide for an average 45 transactions among the country’s 20,000 new-vehicle dealers. Because of the overwhelming number of sales the program spurred, officials cannot pinpoint how much money remains.

The payout lag and funding uncertainty has led some dealers to withdraw from the program.

Of 800 dealers surveyed by Automotive News Aug. 19, 97 percent said they were unsatisfied with the reimbursement time delays and 13 percent said they were dropping out of the program. Also, 87 percent said they were concerned the program’s $3 billion funding would be exhausted before all their deals get processed.

But nearly three-fourths of the dealers also said the CARS program has boosted their profits.

The CATA survey, extrapolated to an area head count of 450 dealers, shows 92,788,000 new-vehicle sales under the CARS program. Officials said the program would end by early September.