New Car Sales Add to Title Backlog at DMV

By: Zac Schultz
By: Zac Schultz

Madison: You've probably seen the ads. The big three car dealers have been selling vehicles at record low prices.

"In June we had a record month. The GM Employee Discount for everyone just filled our showroom up with people," says Russ Darrow G.M. Jim Bunch.

Bunch says his car lot is half empty because of all the sales. But for every car sold the Department of Motor Vehicles needs to issue a title and many need new license plates.

"We're about 66 days on our work in progress," says Jane Zarada, Director of the Bureau of Vehicle Services.

The extra work is swamping an already overloaded DMV. "Cars are selling, which is a really good thing. So we have a larger volume of transactions coming into the DMV. We have fewer staff than we had in the past," says Zarada.

It's been a rough year for the DMV. They installed a new computer system last December, and software glitches in the spring and summer pushed waiting times into the hours for things like a driver's license.

Now titles and plates are taking twice as long as usual. The Director of the DMV says the computers are fixed, but that backlog and state budget cuts lead to the current delays.

Bunch says he's feeling the pain too, "We've had customers complaining, particularly the ones who are paying cash and they're wanting to see that title with no lien on it. They're wondering what's going on, why it's taking so long."

The DMV is hiring additional staff, and they expect to be back to normal processing time by the end of the year.

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