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Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2009 RSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
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Top Stories
After Taking In the Clunkers, Car Dealers Report an Extended Wait for the Cash
Automakers Race to Meet 'Clunker' Demand
GM Recalls 1,350 Workers as It Adds Shifts, Overtime
Clunker Rejection Rate Said to be Declining
Ford Electric Vehicles to Communicate With Power Grid
NADA Used Car Guide: Auction Prices Continue to Strengthen
Top Stories
After Taking In the Clunkers, Car Dealers Report an Extended Wait for the Cash

Car dealers are growing increasingly impatient with the government's slow pace in reimbursing them for accepting trade-ins as part of its popular "Cash for Clunkers" program, even though Transportation Department officials say they are working to address the delays. The National Automobile Dealers Association estimates that dealers have hundreds -- and in some cases thousands -- of applications pending that are "worth hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars." To deal with the issue, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it is tripling the number of workers who are processing claims to 1,100 contract and federal employees. Trade groups are offering Web seminars to help dealers figure out how to properly submit paperwork so they get their money faster.
Source: The Washington Post

Editor's Note: NADA held a high level meeting this morning with DOT and NHTSA officials to reiterate dealer concerns about the "clunkers" program and to stress the urgency of fixing these problems. NADA stressed that NHTSA must prioritize prompt dealer reimbursement because the delay in dealer reimbursement is creating a financial hardship on many dealers across the country.

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Automakers Race to Meet 'Clunker' Demand

To Keep Cars - and Customers - In the Showroom, Carmakers are Increasing Production for First Time in Years
At McEleney Autocenter in Clinton, Iowa, the clunkers are adding up along with new car customers. "We've seen an increase in traffic and sales probably of a hundred percent," general manager Mark Chasey told CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds. With the cash-for-clunkers dealer discount of $4,500, Max Covell traded in his 19-year old Chevy pickup for a new Toyota Corolla. "It was just too good a deal to pass up," Covell said. "It's one of the main reasons we actually will see positive growth in the second half of 2009," said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial. But it's not all roses. Dealers are increasingly annoyed that the government has been slow to reimburse them for the $3,500-4,500 markdowns they've given buyers. "Every dealer is winding up making a decision, how far do you go into this thing before you have to just cut it off," said Dana Fordyce, general manager at Hammonasset Ford. So the Obama Administration announced this week it's tripling the number of workers processing the backlog of transactions. Click here to watch the news segment.
Source: CBS Evening News

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GM Recalls 1,350 Workers as It Adds Shifts, Overtime

General Motors Co. called back 1,350 union workers, its biggest one-time increase in jobs since 2006, as it boosts second-half production, partly in response to demand from the government’s “cash for clunkers” program. GM will add shifts at the CAMI plant in Ontario, Canada, where the redesigned Chevrolet Equinox and all-new GMC Terrain are built, and Lordstown, Ohio, where it assembles the compact Chevrolet Cobalt ... In all, the production changes add about 60,000 units to GM’s fourth-quarter plans, Mark LaNeve, the vice president overseeing U.S. sales, said on a conference call.
Source: Bloomberg News

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Clunker Rejection Rate Said to be Declining

WASHINGTON -- Dealers' cash-for-clunker claims are being rejected at a dramatically lower rate because data entry errors have declined, setting the stage for a speed-up of federal rebates, a Transportation Department spokesman said [Tuesday]. The rejection rate has been as high as 80 percent in recent weeks, said National Automobile Dealers Association officials. But in the past 10 days, the rejection rate has fallen substantially to an unspecified level after efforts by NADA and Transportation officials to train dealers on proper data entry, the Transportation spokesman said.
Source: Automotive News

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Ford Electric Vehicles to Communicate With Power Grid

New system will let plug-ins charge more efficiently in future
DEARBORN, Mich. -- Ford Motor Co.'s future electric vehicles will have the ability to communicate with the nation's future power grids, company executives revealed Tuesday. The automaker's smart-grid communication system, which Ford will test on 21 plug-in hybrids, allows a car and grid to speak to one another to provide more efficient charging, Ford and power company officials said. This allows consumers to save money on recharging and helps utilities better manage the electric grid.
Source: The Detroit News

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NADA Used Car Guide: Auction Prices Continue to Strengthen

McLEAN, Va. — During the first week of August, wholesale prices across the board showed an upward movement, as all one- to five-year-old vehicle segments displayed month-over-month gains, according to the latest AuctionNet data from NADA Used Car Guide. Leading the way was the cars segment, whose wholesale prices through the first week of the month climbed just under 1.5 percent from July, according to officials. The auction prices of SUVs were up just more than 1.2 percent, while vans increased just less than 1.2 percent.
Source: AutoRemarketing

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Quotable
 

"We've seen an increase in traffic and sales probably of a hundred percent."

    -- Mark Chasey, general manager of McEleney Auto Center in Clinton, Iowa, on the effect of "cash for clunkers," CBS Evening News, Aug. 18


"When you get more transactions approved and you get more people reviewing transactions, payments are inevitably speeded up."

    -- A U.S. Department of Transportation spokesman who asked not to be identified, on the department's effort to triple its "cash-for-clunkers" claims-processing staff to 1,100 employees by the end of this week, Automotive News, Aug. 18

Video Highlights
 

Keep or Scrap Cash for Clunkers? 
(CNBC)


Dealers, Detroit Look for Boost From 'Clunkers' (PBS)



Helping Dealers Left Out of New GM (Fox Business)



Media Coverage: The Tragedy of Dealer Closings (NADA-TV)



NADA's New Buy Now Campaign



No Dent in Demand for Some U.S. Cars (NBC)



Cutting Dealers a Mistake (Fox Business)



NADA on Floorplan Credit Crisis (NADA-TV)


John McEleney's Testimony to Senate Committee (CNBC)
 Senate Testimony on Floorplan Loans (NADA-TV)
 Banks Turning on American Car Dealers? (WTNH-TV)
 NADA Tackles Industry Crisis (NADA-TV)
 McEleney Speaks at NADA Convention (NADA-TV)
 Demise of Dealerships Leaves Big Dent (NBC)
NADA on the Front Lines  (NADA-TV)


Click here for more video reports.

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