Not literally, although that would have moved Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood up several notches in our book. As we reported earlier, dealers are quite upset about the Kafka-esque bureaucratic nonsense that is keeping them from being reimbursed for the clunkers they’ve paid out for … and by upset, they’re pulling out of the program altogether. Of course, that doesn’t sit well with the administration that championed the stimulus move, so LaHood told the press “I know dealers are frustrated. They’re going to get their money.” That should make it smiles all around, right?
Sorry LaHood, the administration has a bit of a credibility problem considering the ineptitude of how the program has been run so far, so we think dealers will need more than empty promises in order to keep destroying clunkers. Plus, current numbers show the program will run out of funds (again) in early September, leading to a great deal of uncertainty about how long it will take for dealers to be left in the lurch. Many are already experiencing cashflow problems as unapproved clunker reimbursements pile up due to an overwhelmed bureaucracy unable to process all of the pending requests. Hopefully someone sorts this mess out, and soon.