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Dealers fear financial problems if government doesn't follow through on 'clunkers' program

By Rachel Lippmann, KWMU

St. Louis – St. Louis auto dealers say they're still unsure whether the federal government will reimburse them for the rebates they gave customers under the "Cash for Clunkers" program.

The popular program ends tonight (Monday 8/24) at 7. It allows drivers to receive up to $4,500 if they trade in a car and purchase one that gets better gas mileage.

Chris Adelmann, executive director of the St. Louis Auto Dealers Association, said his 100 members have received mixed messages about how likely they are to get the federal money but they've already accepted thousands of eligible trade-ins.

"Some of the smaller dealers will probably have problems making payroll," Adelmann said. "It's a very big financial hardship for these dealerships."

But Adelmann said his members still consider the program a blessing even with the uncertainty.