By on July 22, 2009

Cash for clunkers has moved up the “hey, you know about cars, right?” list of questions. Friends and acquaintances with little intrinsic interest in the world of cars have been asking “what the deal is” with the program with surprising regularity. Needless to say, it’s difficult to explain and I usually end up pointing people to the CARS website and Kelly Blue Book’s clunker calculator. And guess what. Despite having been asked about the program by a number of people, I know of nobody who has actually qualified. In other words, the program is already a success. After all, the biggest fans of clunker-culling admit that the current plan has too many strings and not enough money to truly impact new car sales on its own. And yet, everyone knows that the program exists without knowing whether they qualify. The resulting search for information drives curious souls who don’t have automotive blogger friends straight into the arms of dealers. Cash for clunkers is a classic come-on. If there was any doubt before, Chrysler’s latest Big Summer Incentive proves it.

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10 Comments on “Daily Podcast: Confusion for Clunkers...”


  • avatar
    lahru

    I work at small Ford store in norethern new york and we usually in this evironment sell 25 new a month. Have 37 new vehicles qualified clunker sales. Works for me.

  • avatar
    grog

    The program is designed to get beat-to-crap vehicles like my 93 4WD Explorer Sport with 200K miles off the road. It’s well designed for that.

    Even if it results in only a marginal upswing in sales, in this economy, any upswing will be good.

  • avatar
    educatordan

    Here’s the stupidity of the program IMHO.

    Girlfriends father’s 1971 Chevy 1/2 ton truck, it’s a POS, rode hard, put away wet, but still registered, titled, insured and driven several times a month and whenever he needs to go to Home Depot. He bought a new Canyon about 6 months ago but didn’t trade the clunker cause he knew it wasn’t worth anything. His wife goes to buy a new Torrent, can he trade in the old Chevy under the CARS program? No, too old. He’s gonna put an add in the paper and see if he can get a grand or two for it. (I really hope that someone who want’s to restore it buys it.)

    My ex-wife has a 1997 Ford Escort Wagon, does it qualify? No, too fuel efficient. If the gov would give either $3,500 or $4,500 for it she’d be buying a new hybrid in a heartbeat.

    My 2004 F150, 4.6 V8? Qualifies cause of it’s inefficiency. It’s a base model with a standard cab, long bed, and about 78,000 miles. Can the CARS program have it? When you pry it from my cold dead hands. The current blue book on it, about $6000.

  • avatar
    EEGeek

    I’d love to get $4500 for my ’97 VR6 Passat with 260K on the clock. Two problems: it officially gets 19 MPG (I get 28-30 in my highway commute), and the 2010 Golf TDI I’d like to replace it with won’t be here by 1 Nov.

    I’m thinking maybe I can get 300K miles out of it after all…

  • avatar
    twotone

    I’d help her find the dipstick.

    Twotone

  • avatar

    Well, I know I’m running a Cash for Clunkers deal. I’m trading my 2000 Jeep Cherokee for a 2009 Honda Fit Sport. I’ve already put down a deposit on the Honda and I just have to wait until Friday to pick it up. Well, to pay for it at least, then it’ll probably take a couple days to add the accessories.

    But anyway, now at least you know of somebody who has qualified and is in line for the government cheese. Boy oh boy I’m excited to get that Fit…

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    EEGeek: Like your Passat, my 93 Crown Victoria ()105K miles) is rated at 19 mpg. So I guess it’s not a gas guzzler. So my teenage son will keep driving it.

  • avatar
    Soxfan

    Kelly Blue Book doesn’t appear to provide accurate information on whether or not a vehicle qualifies. Check fueleconomy.gov to be sure. For example, on KBB it says a ’96 Windstar gets 20 MPG and may not qualify, whereas fueleconomy.gov shows it gets 18 MPG, and would therefore qualify.

  • avatar
    50merc

    My guess is C4C will be a hit, and exhaust the billion bucks appropriated well before November. And if it does, Congress will renew the program on the rationale “it’s getting America moving again!”

  • avatar
    murphysamber

    having been on the managment side of car sales for some time now, I can say that although the sales guys think this is a great idea I think it is a nightmare that will only lead to congressional hearings. 1b is a really small ammount of money for something so big. And based on what we already have gleaned from the CARS.gov website (final rules not published…still) we have half the people walking through the door with eligible vehicles. The site for dealers to register at exists, but isn’t operational. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe not, they haven’t confirmed that they’ll be ready then. If we register tomorrow, we still can’t submit claims for our customers until Monday (they say). And how are we going to know when the money has run out? Hate dealers all you want, but if your business had to wait for 50+ $4500 checks from uncle Sam, and you know that you were one of hundreds in the area doing the same thing, then it wouldn’t take long to figure out that the Detroit metro area could empty the coffers in under 6 hours all by ourselves. But it’s the government, and the latest pitchman loves to drop coin so I’m sure they’ll spend more to keep the voters at bay.


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