U.S. auto dealers are asking the government to extend the deadline for submissions for its Cash for Clunkers program to August 31, citing computer problems that are delaying the entry of applications into the system.
The National Automobile Dealers Association late on Friday said dealers began reporting slowdowns or crashes with the computer system on Friday afternoon.
The U.S. government said it would suspend its popular Cash for Clunkers auto rebates on Monday as the program's $3 billion budget runs dry, a month after it was launched.
Many dealers are working around the clock to submit their clunkers applications to meet the Administration's deadline, NADA said in a statement.
Despite these efforts, computer issues may prevent some clunker applications from being submitted in time, through no fault of the dealers.
The program, offering payments of up to $4,500 to people who trade in old gas guzzlers for new, fuel-efficient vehicles, will end at 8 p.m., August 24, by which time all applications for the rebates must be submitted to Washington.
It has provided a big temporary boost for the auto industry and the U.S. economy. In the past few weeks, both Ford Motor Co and General Motors Cohave increased production as some models have been in short supply.
This later deadline for submissions would help avoid computer slowdowns due to overwhelming demand, and ensure that the President's statement yesterday that every dealer 'will get their money' is achieved in a sensible, orderly manner, NADA said in its statement.
(Reporting by Jui Chakravorty; editing by Carol Bishopric)