Cash for clunkers is over and it's being called a great success, but the the real winners are debatable. As of August 25 at 8pm, car dealers submitted a grand total of 690,114 rebate applications amounting to $2.88 billion, just under the $3 billion budget allotted for the program.
“Those figures clearly confirm the program did exactly what it was designed to do — stimulate our economy,” U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., said in a statement. (1)
Easy Dingell, let’s take a look at look at the totals before we go around making public statements. Consider these factoids:
-Top selling car was Toyota Corolla
-American cars amounted to less than 40% of sales
-All ten of the most traded-in vehicles were American (2)
The Raw Numbers:
TOP TEN MOST TRADED-IN VEHICLES
1. Ford Explorer 4WD
2. Ford F150 Pickup 2WD
3. Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD
4. Ford Explorer 2WD
5. Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan 2WD
6. Jeep Cherokee 4WD
7. Chevrolet Blazer 4WD
8. Chevrolet C1500 Pickup 2WD
9. Ford F150 Pickup 4WD
10. Ford Windstar FWD Van (2)
TOP TEN MOST PURCHASED NEW VEHICLES
1. Toyota Corolla
2. Honda Civic
3. Toyota Camry
4. Ford Focus
5. Hyundai Elantra
6. Nissan Versa
7. Toyota Prius
8. Honda Accord
9. Honda Fit
10. Ford Escape FWD (2)
The total sales for the program boil down to a victory for Toyota with 19.4%, a second-place finish for GM with 17.6% and Ford with the bronze at14.4%. As for Chrysler, it might be best not to speak of them (6.6%).
On the sunny side, there were some numbers that came up roses – Ford had its first sales increase since 2007, GM added shifts and many of the cars sold under the program were assembled in the US. As for Dr. Green Thumb (the environment) she did well. The average trade-in mileage was 15.8 MPG while the new vehicles averaged 24.9 MPG; a 58% increase. (2)
Drama is still in the works at the Transportation Department were they had to increase the number of staff members working on dealer rebate applications six-fold to nearly 2,000 in the last two weeks alone to keep up with the unexpected demand. Considering the clunkers program was originally only supposed to burn through $1 billion and last through November, there’s no question the government is scrambling to get dealers their money back in a timely fashion. (1)
So, while government bureaucrats are being stuffed into cubicles to sort out the dysfunctional clunkers aftermath and sweat it out with anxious car salesmen, the show is over for consumers, many of which never had the chance to trade in a jalopy of their own and cash in on the sweet sweet rebates. That is unless they want to poke their heads down a dark alley and pipe off the special whistle for the non-government sponsored Automotive Stimulus Program.
To learn the tune, check out my MotorSpace blog “Dealer-funded ‘Auto Stimulus Program' offers up to $4,500 for USED cars.” As you can see I’m a master of apt titles, but the point is the program should be good through November 1st if the funds hold out and could provide a back-up plan for anyone who was passed up by the clunkers operation.
“Only 10 (percent) to 15 percent of the marketplace was qualified for Cash for Clunkers, and this is a mechanism to expand the eligibility,” said John Malishenko, operations manager for Germain Motor Co. one of nearly 40 dealers across the country that is participating in the Automotive Stimulus Program. (3)
My big question is how credible this program is. Some seem to think it’s little more than a way to roll existing rebates into a package that will feed off the popularity of Cash for Clunkers.
“They don't have any special deal from the manufacturer or the government that we don't have,” said Rhett Ricart, co-owner of Ricart Automotive. “There's nothing magical here. It's a different concept for marketing, and we see that all the time in this business.” (3)
Read through the blog listed above and visit the program’s official website at http://www.automotivestimulus.org/index.html to judge for yourself.