By on August 6, 2009

The Toyota Corolla has overtaken the Ford Focus as the first choice for American consumers trading their government-approved clunker for a federally subsidized new whip. According to Department of Transportation stats, ToMoCo has now captured three of the top five slots on the Cash for Clunkers (a.k.a. C.A.R.S.) hit list (previous version here) : Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Toyota Prius, and Toyota Camry. Or as, the official release puts it, “Four of the top ten selling vehicles are manufactured by the Big Three. Of non-Big Three purchases, preliminary analysis suggests that well over half of these new vehicles were manufactured in the United States.” Did they mention that the “foreign nameplates” are produced in the U.S.? They did not. Nor did they offer a similar analysis of the country of origin for the trade-ins. Guess what percentage of the Cash for Clunkers trade-ins are American brands?

Correct. 100 percent. Here’s the list:

1.         Ford Explorer 4WD
2.         Ford F150 Pickup 2WD
3.         Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD
4.         Jeep Cherokee 4WD
5.         Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan 2WD
6.         Ford Explorer 2WD
7.         Chevrolet Blazer 4WD
8.         Ford F150 Pickup 4WD
9.         Chevrolet C1500 Pickup 2WD
10.       Ford Windstar FWD Van

OK, so here’s the money shot: the stats that convinced House Speaker Nany Pelosi that the Cash for Clunkers program was green enough for her valley.

Average Fuel Economy

New vehicles Mileage:  25.3 MPG
Trade-in Mileage:  15.8 MPG.
Overall increase:  9.6 MPG, or a 61% improvement

Cars purchased under the program are, on average, 21% above the average fuel economy of all new cars currently available, and 63% above the average fuel economy of cars that were traded in. This means the program is raising the average fuel economy of the fleet, while getting the dirtiest and most polluting vehicles off the road.

And if that’s not enough reason to justify another $2 billion in federal funding for the Cash for Clunkers program, check out the geographical spread. There isn’t a politician in these here United States whose dealers haven’t benefitted from the program. As well they should; this is their bailout.

ALABAMA: $7,087,000
ALASKA: $1,166,000
ARIZONA: $6,527,500
ARKANSAS: $4,455,000
CALIFORNIA: $39,926,500
COLORADO: $7,758,000
CONNECTICUT: $8,916,000
DELAWARE: $1,562,000
FLORIDA: $26,947,000
GEORGIA: $12,469,500
HAWAII: $963,500
IDAHO: $3,395,000
ILLINOIS: $33,740,000
INDIANA: $18,729,500
IOWA: $12,184,500
KANSAS: $9,729,000
KENTUCKY: $9,178,000
LOUISIANA: $5,400,000
MAINE: $5,450,000
MARYLAND: $11,757,000
MASSACHUSETTS: $13,844,500
MICHIGAN: $44,399,500
MINNESOTA: $30,182,500
MISSISSIPPI: $2,431,500
MISSOURI: $16,101,500
MONTANA: $1,732,500
NEBRASKA: $7,392,000
NEVADA: $2,009,000
NEW HAMPSHIRE: $5,474,500
NEW JERSEY: $13,744,500
NEW MEXICO: $2,366,000
NEW YORK: $32,440,000
NORTH CAROLINA: $18,472,000
NORTH DAKOTA: $3,302,000
OHIO: $37,653,000
OKLAHOMA: $7,532,000
OREGON: $10,229,500
PENNSYLVANIA: $32,994,000
RHODE ISLAND: $2,392,000
SOUTH CAROLINA: $7,164,000
SOUTH DAKOTA: $4,033,500
TENNESSEE: $11,117,000
TEXAS: $35,010,000
UTAH: $5,095,000
VERMONT: $2,376,000
VIRGINIA: $18,376,500
WASHINGTON: $12,351,000
WEST VIRGINIA: $2,769,500
WISCONSIN: $24,042,000
WYOMING: $530,000

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38 Comments on “Toyota Corolla Overtakes Ford Focus for Top Cash-for-Clunkers Purchases...”


  • avatar
    Runfromcheney

    Not too surprising here. The biggest majority of Cash for Clunkers trade ins are people getting rid of their 90s SUVs and minivans, the majority of which were American. And since Ford is the only one of the big three that has a proper line up of qualifying vehicles, it doesn’t surprise me that everybody is taking their business to the imports. I hope this just serves as a wake up call to Obama that makes him realize that Rick Wagoner was full of shit when he said that the recession is to blame for GM’s woes, GM is in their current predicament because they build inferior cars that people don’t want.

  • avatar
    210delray

    “Big Three?” I thought this term was deep-sixed long ago.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    Ford Explorer 4WD, Ford F150 Pickup 2WD, Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD, Jeep Cherokee 4WD, Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan 2WD, Ford Explorer 2WD, Chevrolet Blazer 4WD, Ford F150 Pickup 4WD, Chevrolet C1500 Pickup 2WD, Ford Windstar FWD Van

    So these things WERE unnecessary, fuel thirsty, depreciating POS that were regretted in years to come?

    I accept your apology.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    I went up to the Toyota dealer for an oil change. While I was there, I found a salesperson and asked if I could test-drive a Yaris.

    “Gee, I’m sorry, we’re sold out.”

    They’re also out of Ravs and there’s a sign-up sheet to try out what seems to be the remaining Prius. They’re almost out of Corollas and Camrys. Everybody at the Toyota dealer is thrilled with the program.

    Runfromcheney: “I hope this just serves as a wake up call to Obama that makes him realize that Rick Wagoner was full of shit when he said that the recession is to blame for GM’s woes, GM is in their current predicament because they build inferior cars that people don’t want.”

    Never mind Wagoner; have Henderson and Lutz figured this out, yet?

  • avatar
    kericf

    Another big question is how did all those people manage to keep their Blazers running that long? I don’t know anyone with a 90′s model blazer that didn’t have recurring problems with them.

  • avatar
    gusplus

    Gas tax receipts will diminish accordingly.

  • avatar
    Robstar

    What I don’t understand is that Michigan has one of the HIGHEST rates of unemployment in the nation, yet they are all buying new cars ? um, what ?

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Robstar,

    Michigan also would likely have the largest collection of clunkers to trade, judging by what’s on that list.

  • avatar
    jmo

    What I don’t understand is that Michigan has one of the HIGHEST rates of unemployment in the nation, yet they are all buying new cars ?

    $4500 off a Hyundia plus 0% and cash back… What you save on gas and maintaince vs. your ’92 Jimmy will easily make the payments.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    “What I don’t understand is that Michigan has one of the HIGHEST rates of unemployment in the nation, yet they are all buying new cars ? um, what ?”

    Michigan has around 12% unemployment. That means that 88% of those in Michigan who need and want work have a job of some kind. Now many of those are probably making do with just getting by kind of work, so take another 20% out of the pool of possible buyers to represent them. That still leaves 68% of the workers as potential new car buyers. More than enough people to buy thousands, or even tens of thousands of cars.

    I suspect part of Ford’s problem with selling Focuses is availability. The Corolla and Civic have outsold the Focus in the US forever and are backed up by far more inventory and manufacturing capacity.

    “Guess what percentage of the Cash for Clunkers trade-ins are American brands?”

    100% of the top ten trade-ins are American branded, but that doesn’t mean 100% of the trade-ins are American branded. At least two of the crushed vehicles are Lexus LS400s. I saw them myself.

    ” … ‘Of non-Big Three purchases, preliminary analysis suggests that well over half of these new vehicles were manufactured in the United States’. Did they mention that the ‘foreign nameplates’ are produced in the U.S.? They did not. ”

    Sure looks to me like they mentioned exactly that when they said that over half the “non-Big Three” nameplate vehicles were manufactured in the US.

  • avatar
    Happy_Endings

    What I don’t understand is that Michigan has one of the HIGHEST rates of unemployment in the nation, yet they are all buying new cars ? um, what ?

    A few might be from GM’s buyout option which included a $25K voucher for a new car.

  • avatar
    Happy_Endings

    Michigan has around 12% unemployment. That means that 88% of those in Michigan who need and want work have a job of some kind. Now many of those are probably making do with just getting by kind of work, so take another 20% out of the pool of possible buyers to represent them. That still leaves 68% of the workers as potential new car buyers. More than enough people to buy thousands, or even tens of thousands of cars.

    The problem is Michigan has more C4C money than states with a higher populations, such as Illinois, New York, Texas, Florida, and California. Minnesota and Ohio are also surprisingly high (on the list).

  • avatar
    thalter

    No shocker on the clunker list. The requirement that the clunker get a combined 18MPG or less pretty much limits the pool of eligible vehicles to trucks. As you may recall, even the Ford Panther platform didn’t make the cut!

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    It’s a decent car that gets good mileage and is incredibly forgiving of “average citizen” stewardship.

    If I were trading in a problematic clunker and was unsure of my earning prospects in the future, I’d be going Corolla/Matrix, too.

  • avatar
    Lokkii

    So these things WERE unnecessary, fuel thirsty, depreciating POS that were regretted in years to come?

    1. You can’t prove “unnecessary” from this act. It may be so, but there’s no automatic corelation.

    2. Granted but fuel was cheaper than the cost of a new car.

    3. Depreciating? Yeah, if you bought them new…. but almost ZERO of the people trading them in under this program brough them NEW. I would bet you considerable cash that less than 10% of the people trading these cars in were the original owners.

  • avatar
    tuckerdawg

    meh…I am impressively unimpressed with the toyota corolla, my gf drives an 06′ and while the handling, acceleration, and engine are all top notch the ergonomics are awful. The seat is uncomfortable, driving position feels like it is slightly off center from the steering wheel and my knees bang up against both the center stack (ok thats almost normal for this class) and the door panel on the left (that never happened to me even in my 94 toyota tercel). It seems like the newer toyota models just dont feel like a “car”. A steering wheel sticking out of a non descript dash (slightly off center imho) might as well be sticking a quarter into that toy car ride that sits outside the likes of sam’s club and walmart. The best of both worlds would be dropping the suspension and engine into my 06′ elantra, which while not as fast off the line is more comfortable and the angled dash makes the controls if not the performance catered to the driver.

  • avatar
    thalter

    Lokkii

    I disagree. Anyone able to move from an Explorer into a Corolla was obviously not utilizing the truck capabilities (offroad, towing, hauling, etc.), there by rendering said capabilities unnecessary.

    As you surmised, most were probably purchased second hand, more because they were highly depreciated (read cheap) than because of their capabilities. i would guess most being used for little more than commuting, grocery getting, and family hauling (which is what most of these SUVs were used for when new, for that matter).

  • avatar
    Lokkii

    “…how did all those people manage to keep their Blazers running that long? I don’t know anyone with a 90’s model blazer that didn’t have recurring problems with them.”

    Thank you for the set-up for one of my all-time favorite lines:

    GM cars run bad longer than most cars run at all

  • avatar
    geeber

    thalter: Anyone able to move from an Explorer into a Corolla was obviously not utilizing the truck capabilities (offroad, towing, hauling, etc.), there by rendering said capabilities unnecessary.

    Not necessarily. People’s needs change over time. Children leave the home; the home-based business is sold; a spouse dies; a spouse’s health conditions mean that camping or other activities that require towing a trailer are no longer possible.

    The SUV may have been needed at one time, but is now no longer needed, so the owners decided to take advantage of cash-for-clunkers to downsize.

  • avatar
    bodyonframe

    Well, since no one else has said it (not that I have seen yet anyway) I will: Here is one 1996 Ford Explorer 4wd owner (in Michigan nonetheless) who is never giving it up for anything FWD, unibody, or import. Ever. Maybe if they’re still offering this in 6 months when I grad college and will give it on cars I actually want (F-series, Expedition, Mustang, etc. or something comparable from GM, but not Chrysler.) I might consider it then. Focus is bad enough, but an explorer to a corolla???? Hope those in Michigan have lots of fun this winter.

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    @Lokkii
    “GM cars run bad longer than most cars run at all”

    I wish to suggest another reason. Junkyards full of the ones that died provide a huge supply of cheap parts.

    It is simply easier and cheaper to fix old GM crap than any other brand. In addition to just more vehicles out there, GM engine parts tend to be more compatible across different specifications than Ford and Cryco.

    A few years ago I did an admittedly informal study of vehicles dead by the road. GM contributed over 60% of the vehicles.

    Just some thoughts.

    Cheerio.

    Bunter

  • avatar
    Kevin

    So in the end of the expanded Clunkers boondoggle we’ll have 0.5% of the U.S. fleet improve its fuel economy by 61%. So that means when all is said and done we’re talking about a 0.3% improvement in fuel efficiency nationwide — assuming that people don’t take advantage of the better mileage by simply driving more miles per the Jevons Paradox, which they might.

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    Gotta feeling that this will hurt the Debt 3 in the long term.

    A lot of folks are going to get their first taste of a Toy or Honda, or Hyundia for that matter and I bet after a few trouble free years they won’t be back.

    Syanora Detroit.

    Bunter

  • avatar
    SkiD666

    Since this wasn’t mentioned in the article above,
    Clunkers sales by manufacturer:
    GM – 18.7%
    Toyota – 17.9%
    Ford – 16%
    Chrysler – 10.3%

    So with only the Cobalt in the top 10 where are all the other GM sales coming from?

  • avatar
    rm

    Michigan’s unemployment hasn’t been near 12% in at least three months. We’re up at 15% U3 and I’m guessing closer to 20% for U6.

    That said, Michigan likely has a disproportionately high concentration of the vehicles being turned in (can anyone say employee, family and supplier discounts?). Hence, the high absolute $ recipient of the program.

  • avatar
    Canucknucklehead

    The Corolla isn’t an import anyway, not under NAFTA rules. Some were built at the soon to be closed NUMMI plant in California but the majority are from Cambridge, Ontario. With the closure of NUMMI, all North American Corollas will come from Canada. A second shift is being added to the RAV 4 plant in Woodstock to replace NUMMI and the Cambridge plant is having it’s capacity increased.

    As an aside, it will be interesting to see what happens when people trade their GM crap for Toyota. It will be a revelation for them to not constantly wrench and pump gas on their GM POS. I am sure this programme will do sooooo much to encourage repeat business at Government Motors!

  • avatar
    eaptlm05

    Anyone know how much Toyota made this quarter?

    I didn’t see it on the website. I tried to search for it under Toyota articles. Please let me know.

  • avatar
    Canucknucklehead

    It took me less than ten seconds to find Toyota’s financial statement for the first quarter, April 1-June 30, 2009. It doesn’t get more clear than this:

    http://www.toyota.co.jp/en/ir/financial_results/2010/q1/summary.pdf

    They have like US$300billion in cash on hand. If you know how to read such a statement, Toyota is a very healthy company.

  • avatar
    RobertSD

    It was only a matter of time before the Corolla outsold the Focus on this list. The Focus inventory is extremely low right now (Ford’s MY changeover was, unfortunately for them, the second to last week of July, and from the sounds of things, ramp up has been slow until this week).

    Last check had Focus inventory a little under 20 days and Corolla inventory about 30 days. Ford’s Hermosillo plant is running a full capacity, and Ford still can’t keep inventories over 25-30 days. The Camry is probably around 45 days right now. Things look worst for the Escape and Rav4 – both are looking at invetories around 15 days.

    So, Ford’s sold out. Toyota is picking up the remains. Honda looks like it is next to benefit as Toyota runs out and they are relatively flush with vehicles right now.

    August sales will be interesting. And it will be even more interesting to see if the new $2B will be consumed with as much excitement as the first $1B.

  • avatar
    P71_CrownVic

    Brilliant Obama…brilliant.

    More proof that this C4C garbage is a terrible piece of legislation.

    So far, IMPORT companies have received more benefit from this UNITED STATES STIMULUS than the UNITED STATES has.

    And only the blind, ignorant sheep will find nothing wrong with that.

    New vehicles Mileage: 25.3 MPG
    Trade-in Mileage: 15.8 MPG.
    Overall increase: 9.6 MPG, or a 61% improvement

    Hmm…it would be nice if gas prices would drop 61% as well…

    August sales will be interesting. And it will be even more interesting to see if the new $2B will be consumed with as much excitement as the first $1B.

    What will be interesting is what the reaction will be when this bubble of artificial demand pops. The Automakers and dealers will be screaming to keep this “fix” going…like a meth addict going to their methadone clinic.

  • avatar
    paulie

    With complete, admiration and enormous respect to Andrew Higgins…to whose memory I appologize.
    There are exceptions to most rules.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Higgins

    What is an American car?
    Who really cares?

    It used to worry me that foreign brands were doing so well, until I saw that they were manufactured here.
    Not only that, but most are designed here as well.

    As far as the “corporate headquarters”…who gives a damn?

    “USA” companies find ways to spread their fortunes around where it doesn’t benefit the motherland.
    Hide the wealth where you can, exploit the rules whenever it benefits.
    In the business, there is no bigger whore and self serving bitch than the global corporation.

    It really has always been this way. Public relations and image fool the consumer.
    Patriotism is for the commoner.
    Greed and profit are what drives business.
    Not bad, not good.
    It simply is the engine of business.

    There is no loyalty, there is no country.
    There is only THE COMPANY.

  • avatar
    eaptlm05

    Canucknucklehead :

    I knew what the statement said for Toyota. I just hate how this website loves to jump on American companies for losses but Toyota results have been out a week and it has not been a story out yet. No story pointing how much of a problem its current liabilities are becoming on its balance sheet. And if you knew how to read such statements you would know they have around 28 billion dollars

  • avatar
    Rada

    I have really nice gas mileage on my 2003 ‘rolla. Around 35 mpg combined city, highway traffic. Wouldn’t say it’s underpowered or anything, takes off quite nicely.

  • avatar
    Canucknucklehead

    they have around 28 billion dollars

    It is in millions of Yen and I was referring to cash on hand. Unlike Chrysler and GM they have not declared bankruptcy an stiffed their creditors for billions.

    The best way to stimulate an economy is to put cash in hand for your lowest income people. This programme has done just that. It has done a lot more good than the TARP and fractions of the cost.

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    Canucknucklehead-Did C4C put cash in their hands?

    A few might have paid in full for the new car but I suspect most got a new car + payment(=debt) in place of a vehicle that was paid for.

    Nobody got cash. Most got more debt.

    Not saying it wasn’t a good deal for some however C4C potentially tempted many to increase their debt burden when they should not have.

    We’ll see down the road if there are a bunch of credit defaults, but this country probably needs more incentive to manage/decrease personal debt rather than expand it.
    We can bitch about the banks all we want, “we the people” (by and large) screwed up by getting drunk on debt.

    Time will tell.

    Bunter

  • avatar
    Rada

    A few calculations:

    Assume one trades in an Explorer for a Corolla. With the C4C the Corolla can be acquired for about $13,000. At 5% rate for three years, that makes $390 a month.

    The MPG differential is about 15, which, if one drives say 40 miles a day, and the gas is $2.75/gal, takes $190 a month from you debt payment.

    It could make sense if you believe the gas prices are headed up, plus you get a new car with a low cost of ownership.

  • avatar
    Omoikane

    Canucknucklehead,

    “The Corolla isn’t an import anyway, not under NAFTA rules. Some were built at the soon to be closed NUMMI plant in California but the majority are from Cambridge, Ontario”

    NUMMI makes more Corollas then Cambridge (if one doesn’t include the Matrix under Corolla numbers), 200k versus about 140k.

    “With the closure of NUMMI, all North American Corollas will come from Canada.”
    Actually, if you’d check last month Toyota numbers, you’d notice about 10% of them came from outside North America. Most likely Takaoka plant in Japan.
    If NUMMI would close, there is no way Cambridge alone (with a capacity of 200k-220k Corolla/Matrix)be able to satisfy demand. At 12 million SAAR, the NA Corolla/Matrix demand would be over 400k/y. Even if they would move Matrix to Woodstock (80k-100k), they would still need to bring about 100k/year Corollas from Takaoka.

    “A second shift is being added to the RAV 4 plant in Woodstock to replace NUMMI and the Cambridge plant is having it’s capacity increased.”

    Do you have some link, or is that hear-say?
    How fast and by how much could Cambridge capacity increase?
    I wouldn’t count on getting more then 220k on a sustainable basis out of Cambridge anytime soon, IMO.
    Even 220k would be a stretch, but maybe possible based on streamlining by sending Matrix to Woodstock and not having to deal with 3 car models (Corolla, Matrix, Matrix 4WD.

  • avatar
    baja

    I’ve put 100K miles on my 2005 Matrix and love it. It is actually a Corolla that was redesigned. I do miss the cushy minivan highway-riding vehicle I had previously when taking trips over 500 miles but then I added a great after-market back-supporting cushion system.

    I was surprised that my Matrix, not having that minivan suspension, barely wears tires, doesn’t need realignment, doesn’t sock me with expensive bushings and crap and is a breeze to change my own oil.

    It is fun to drive, takes me to the snow every weekend in winter, allows me to put the seats down flush and camp in it, carry large things from home depot and has pretty good storage.

    This car is an economic champ.


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