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MN DPS Says New License System Up & Running, Despite Auto Dealer Woes

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says its new $90 million motor vehicle license system is up and running today.

That's after a series of glitches caused problems for people getting license tabs and plates. And auto dealers are now reporting problems for new car buyers.

The state's new license and registration system, called MNLARs, crashed multiple times since it went online July 24, forcing some registrar's offices to temporarily shut down services last week.

Now, car dealers say it's affecting everything from title transfers to license tabs.

"It's hit or miss," said Mike Roeder, General Manager at Sears Imported Auto in Minnetonka.

He says frustrated customers can't get license plates, and it's not an isolated problem.

As of Monday, Roeder says his dealership can complete only about 35 percent of its transactions with the state.

"The people who handle the transfers are getting a ton of calls every day from upset customers" he said. "They want to know where their plates are. How come this hasn't been taken care of."

One of the biggest problems for dealers is issuing 21-day temporary licenses, which are taped to the back windows of vehicles and which may expire before customers get their plates.

The state is now allowing dealers to issue a second 21-day permit on the same car, but dealers must physically get them to customers.

The State Department of Public Safety says the system is up and running now.

In a statement, DPS Director of Communications Bruce Gordon said:

"Since July 24, the following were processed through the new DVS computer system (MNLARS):

• 230,011 registration renewals (tabs)
• 62,346 title transactions.

People who mailed in their registration renewals between July 14 and July 31, and have not received their new stickers, should receive them soon. All of the July tab renewals have been processed and most stickers have been mailed. People should put them on their license plates as soon as they receive them."

And in an unusual move, DPS has informed law enforcement officers about the problem if they stop cars without current tabs.

Dealers like Mike Roeder say they've never encountered an issue like this, and he's not sure when it will be resolved.

"They're telling us they don't know," he said.

DPS Spokesman Gordon said problems for auto dealers may vary region by region.

But he said: "6,723 titles and 23,546 registration renewals were processed as of 4 p.m. today [Monday]. It's safe to say that a portion of those were submitted by dealers to their local deputy registrar for processing today."

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