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August 21, 2009
Where Can Dealers Get ‘Clunker’ Cash? Hello, Sanford and Son!
Somehow, you just knew, when the government started a program called “Cash
for Clunkers,” the result would be clunkers as far as the eye could see, and
cash would be hard to come by.
lucky car dealers, getting the wondrous help of the federal government, will
be lucky if they don’t end up going out of business – or worse, ending up in
the opening-segment video montage for a remake of Sanford and Son.
is how Cash for Clunkers works: A guy with one tooth and a car being held
together by rust walks into a car dealership, saying he wants to trade in
his rustmobile for a new, foreign-made SUV that will create American jobs
and save the environment. “Ah herd ah kin get me forta-fahv hunid dollahs on
a rebate,” he says. “Give it here!”
dealer cuts a check for $4,500, payable to Bubba Joe Favre, then takes the
old rustmobile out to the back, where it joins a cadre of other, recently
acquired rustmobiles. Then the dealer does two things:
It submits a request via
http://www.cars.gov to the government for reimbursement of the
It waits for someone to take away the clunkers.
pretty simple, right? What could go wrong?
of all, it would appear there is a problem with Cars.gov, which is to say, a
large percentage of the time, the site is not working. This makes it hard
for the dealers to put in for reimbursement. Second, once they finally do
submit, they have no idea when the cash is going to show up. One dealer in
Kansas City told a local TV station that the Cash for Clunkers program has
only disbursed 4 percent of the money promised as reimbursement for dealers.
particular dealer says he has 130 clunkers sitting on his lot right now, and
he hasn’t seen a dime from the government yet.
let’s be conservative and estimate that the average the dealer paid in
clunker rebates was not the maximum $4,500. Let’s guess it was only $2,000.
That means the dealer has laid out $260,000 in cash, and has no idea when it
is going to be reimbursed for it.
you’ve got 100 employees at that dealership, and you cut each one an average
paycheck of $1,200 every two weeks, that’s more than a month’s payroll.
Plus, since you’ve just sold all these new cars, you have to take delivery
on more new ones, and you’re going to get invoiced by the manufacturer for
those. Big deal, you say, people will buy them! Are you sure? How do you
know all the people willing to buy new cars haven’t already done so because
the government promised to pay them up to $4,500? How do you know you’re not
about to take delivery on another 130 cars that will sit there unloved when
the Cash for Clunkers program finally runs out of money?
there may be a new way to recover some of your cash! All you have to do is
download the theme to Sanford and Son and hire two actors – one
elderly and disheveled-looking, the other suave and sophisticated – and have
them walk around your back lot amidst the clunkers. Have a geeky friend who
knows how to make videos help you add in credits, and you can create your
own opening sequence to a revival of the show.
like to see Christopher Lloyd play Fred and Christian Bale play Lamont. Hey!
They made a black Odd Couple! Why not a white Sanford and Son?
you have to do is sell this concept to Hollywood, and you can probably
recoup your Cash for Clunkers money much faster than you would waiting for
the government to send you a check – since they’re still trying to convince
the Chinese to lend it to them.
Otherwise, good luck staying in business while you bask in the glow of all
that government help. And don’t sell those clunkers! They’re much too
valuable not to be destroyed.
© 2009 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.
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