Detroit Free Press has an interesting analysis of Cash for Clunkers. Unlike the government’s own analyisis, which did not aggregate sales data across 2x and 4x models, the Freep totalled the sales numbers for all types of vehicles together. Among the findings:
* Trucks, including that paragon of fuel efficiency, the Chevy Silverado (14 mpg city) were 3 of the top 10 selling vehicles. The Ford F150 (14 or 15 mpg city, depending on the model), was 11th on the list.
* Foreign automakers — the Japanese and Koreans in particular — made a killing on the program, with 5 of the top 10 models and over 60% of the total sales. This included the single best-selling car, the Toyota Corolla.
* Chrysler, much-publicized recipient of a US-government bailout, managed just 6.6% of total sales under the program, behind Hyundai and well behind the leading sellers.
Despite the Administration’s claims that average fuel economy was improved by 9 mpg for those who participated in the program, it’s time to just abandon the lie. Cash for Clunkers was a subsidy to US consumers, nothing more, nothing less. To its credit, the Government, as a major stakeholder in both GM and Chrysler, might’ve slapped a “made in America” provision on the program. Thankfully, they at least resisted that urge.