Well, it would seem that the debacle that is Cash for Clunkers, one of the most amazing sleight of hand tricks seen in recent years, has many facets. Here is a piece from NADA about the problems dealers are having.
‘Clunkers’ Plan Needs a Tuneup
The Department of Transportation … indicated to auto dealers Thursday that it would add staff to address the backlog of unpaid applications for clunker vouchers. But dealers say payments have been slow to arrive. “We’ve got 155 clunkers on the ground and no money in the bank,” says Earl Stewart, owner of the Earl Stewart Toyota dealership in North Palm Beach, Fla. “We’re selling ourselves into a very negative cash-flow situation.” The Transportation Department blames delays in part to dealers submitting incomplete applications. In many instances, the official said, dealers haven’t submitted documentation that the vehicle was insured continuously for a year, as required. In others, dealers failed to write “Junk Automobile” on the title of the trade-in, a step necessary to prevent fraud.Source: The Wall Street JournalEditor’s Note: NADA’s number one priority is to ensure that dealers are paid for pending clunker deals. NADA recognizes that the program must, of course, be rigorous enough to prevent fraud, but also has to be flexible enough that deals can be processed and dealers are reimbursed.
The Packard reference in today’s post is two fold in nature. One is the work underway to expand Afton Station, Afton, Oklahoma, a rapidly rising star in the modern icons of Route 66. The stunning collection of vintage Packard’s housed here is but one reason this place sits high on my list of “must see” stops on our proposed Route 66 tour in October.
The second reference is in regards to Packard, and other auto manufactures, during the Great Depression. With the luxury of hindsight it becomes relatively easy to see the demise of Packard, and Studebaker, during the 1950s was resultant of an inability to fully recover from the effects of the depression.
Albert Erskine, a brilliant businessman with a long track record of successes, failed to see the prosperity of the 1920s as an illusion based on easy credit. He was not alone in this and many automobile manufacturers took advantage of the loose fiscal policies of the time to utilize credit for huge expansion projects.
At Studebaker this expansion also included restructuring in an effort to capture a larger share of the rapidly dwindling consumer market. This included a merger acquisition of Pierce Arrow and the introduction of a lower priced companion car, the Erskine.
The venture ended badly. Constricting credit markets, collapsing sales, and massive unemployment sent the company into a tailspin. Erskine, facing debilitating health issues as well as the prospect that his decisions had brought Studebaker, a company with a history that dated to the 1850s, to the very precipice committed suicide.
Packard suffered through the worst of the depression before succumbing to the hemorrhage of cash. In the late 1930s they abandoned their traditional position as a preeminent builder of luxury cars to offer the lower priced 110 series.
The 110 was, in its own right, a well built automobile. However, it was a dramatic departure from the traditional Packard focus and as a result the name was forever tarnished.
Now, a little something about Route 66. Would there be any interest, say next fall, in a Kingman to Kingman cruise?
The concept is kind of unique in that it is not a overly structured event. IN fact, the only established events would be the first day in Kingman, Kansas, and the last day in Kingman, Arizona.
Registered participants would receive a signed copy of Route 66 Backroads, discounts or free passes to museums along the route, discounts at participating motels, and other little perks. The cruise would celebrate the adventure of the two lane, first west on US 54 and then on Route 66/I40.
Ideas, thoughts or suggestions are always appreciated.