Mazda To Advance Clunkers Payments To Dealers

IRVINE, Calif. (AP) -- Mazda North American Operations said Friday that it will issue $20 million in advance payments to its dealers to help tide them over until they receive reimbursements through the government's Cash for Clunkers program.

Mazda said the payments will be generated and paid to qualifying dealers on or before Wednesday.

Many dealers for all kinds of automakers have been concerned that they would not be reimbursed by the government, with some choosing to stop participating over the weekend so they could have enough time to process and file the paperwork.

As of Friday, dealers had been reimbursed for just a small fraction of the billions in sales.

Mazda said its dealers have seen a significant increase in showroom traffic as a result of the clunkers program. About 59 percent of the Mazdas sold under the program have been MAZDA3s, the company's most fuel-efficient vehicle.

The government's Cash for Clunkers program is scheduled to end at 8 p.m. EDT Monday, two weeks earlier than expected.

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