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Cash for Clunkers has been an equal opportunity incentive

Posted by: David Welch on August 5, 2009

When the government’s cash for clunkers program kicked off in late July, the early word was that it was helping foreign carmakers more than giving a sales boost to Detroit. That stands to reason. Japanese and Korean carmakers have a better image when it comes to selling efficient cars. So one would think that the foreign makes would get a bigger piece of the 184,304 cars sold through the program using the government’s $775.2 million as of today.

But as it turns out, that wasn’t the case. The percentage of consumers buying cars using clunker cash pretty closely matched their market share for the year. About 45% of the buyers chose an American car or truck. Detroit’s market share year-to-date is 44%. General Motors got 18.7 % of the buyers, and its market share is 19.5% this year. Ford, which reportedly got a massive windfall of buyers through the clunker program, got 16% of the buyers, up just half a percentage point over its year-to-date share. Ford did well, but its big victory is a big exaggerated. Chrysler got 10.6% of the buyers, one point more than its share. But the company offered aggressive deals on top of the clunker cash to woo consumers.

Toyota has loved the program, getting 17.9% of buyers. That’s up over its 16.3% year-to-date share. Hyundai also had quite a bonanza. But it was quite the foreign-car selling spree that some suggested. Here’s every company’s share of clunker sales to date:

General Motors 18.7%
Toyota 17.9%
Ford 16.0%
Honda 11.6%
Chrysler 10.6%
Nissan 7.0%
Hyundai 6.6%
Kia 3.8%
Mazda 2.3%
Subaru 2.2%
Volkswagen 1.9%
Suzuki 0.4%
MINI 0.3%
Mitsubishi 0.3%
Smart 0.2%
Volvo 0.1%
All Other 0.1%

See. It tracked with the car market pretty closely.

Reader Comments


August 6, 2009 8:55 AM

Which brand of cars qualify for the program? From what year on?


August 6, 2009 11:57 AM

Your vehicle must be less than 25 years old on the trade-in date
Only purchase or lease of new vehicles qualify

Generally, trade-in vehicles must get 18 or less MPG (some very large pick-up trucks and cargo vans have different requirements)

Trade-in vehicles must be registered and insured continuously for the full year preceding the trade-in


August 6, 2009 1:15 PM

I'd like to trade in my old Accord, but because I didn't recklessly trample the environment in a big gas guzzler, my taxes go to subsidize the morons who did. Nice of the government to be the chief rewarder of bad behavior in society and on Wall Street, all at the expense of those who made more responsible decisions.


August 6, 2009 2:32 PM

I guess we should forget the fact that it's not really a stimulus program. It's more of a let's create more debt, buy, buy, buy, program. It's all about short term gains with long term pains. You know, kind of like what a drug addict does. It's why I'm not buying into it. My goal after seeing how things seem to be heading is to get out of all my debt asap and into some real wealth securing assets. Hint. The dollar isn't one. China knows it and that's why Geithner said we are going to have to "tighten our belts" from here on out when the didn't agree to increase their buying of our debt. Probably another reason why China keeps trying to hoard gold which according to the real time tracking widget ExactPrice is sitting at $959.30 right now.

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Want the straight scoop on the auto industry? Our man in Detroit David Welch, brings keen observations and provocative perspective on the auto business.

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