So, how would you all like a nice, juicy chunk of political red meat to chew on a lovely Tuesday morning? For those of you who aren’t interested, it’s all below the jump. For the rest of you, 350 comments or bust! Let’s do this…
The fact (if you can call it that) that China’s government will bring back a Cash-for-clunkers program caused headlines around the world. It also spurred news writers to new peaks of creativity. At the same time, Chinese farmers could protect GM’s honor. Let’s investigate. (Read More…)
Letter to the editor of the New Times by Robert Pankhurst:
“On my drive home yesterday, an advertisement over my car radio told me how much the Cancer Society needed old cars donated to help them fight cancer. Then I remembered watching the Youtube video where cars were turned in for the government program called “Cash for Clunkers.” (Read More…)
Edmunds is tracking an $1,800 average increase in the price of used cars, as new-car sales have faltered with the shaky economy. But the increase in prices isn’t solely due to Americans tightening their belts and buying used instead of new. The biggest price increases by nameplate appear to be for large SUVs and vans like the Cadillac Escalade, Chevy Suburban, Dodge Grand Caravan, BMW X5 and Acura MDX. Edmunds senior analyst Joe Spina explains
So many economic factors affect automobile sales and prices. It’s believed that the program delayed purchases prior to the program and also pulled sales forward while in place. The program also eliminated inventory of older vehicles that were traded and then scrapped… Now, those who need trucks and large SUVs are buying them and in many cases are turning to used vehicles as a way to save money. Prices are high because this demand comes at a time when inventory is low as a result of the current shortage of lease returns and trade-ins for vehicles of this type.
Edmunds’ “Large SUV” segment shows prices up by nearly $7k per vehicle (over July 2009), compared to increases of less than $500 per vehicle for midsize and compact cars over the same period. Gas prices, meanwhile, are nearly unchanged from July of last year. Clearly something is affecting the price of used SUVs… if it’s not Cash-For-Clunkers, what is it?
I’m afraid our friends over at Gasgoo need a little parental oversight. Or the good folks at China’s premiere auto business site shouldn’t been drinking while posting. Today, they report that the Chinese government invested 5 billion yuan ($736m) in the “cash for clunkers” program last year. As of May 31, only 1.7 billion yuan ($250m) were handed out, with 3.3 billon yuan ($486m) left. No surprise to us. We never thought much of the program. In January, we said: “Due to the relatively young fleet in China, the impact of the cash for clunkers program on sales is expected to be small.” So far so good.
Now for a huge leap of logic:
“Therefore, the country’s automobile consumption in the next seven months will certainly be doubled,” say our friends at Gasgoo.
Shenme? (Say what????) (Read More…)
Anyone still feel like arguing that Cash For Clunkers was a good use of nearly $3b? [Coyoteblog, via Instapundit]
Now that Japan has said kankei nai ne (who cares, not worth the trouble) and opened their cash for clunkers program to American imports, even if they did not go through mandatory homologation, and even if they weren’t rated by the Japanese government to get 35.5 mpg or better, which car is the first to qualify? You are looking at it – very closely. It’s a, it’s a, it’s a … (Read More…)
Today’s Nikkei [sub] clarified the Japanese position on US cars qualifying for Nipponese cash fur clunkers money. The program offers up to 250,000 yen ($2,800) in subsidies to buyers of cars that meet Japanese fuel efficiency standards.
According to the Nikkei, about 30 percent of U.S. imports to Japan enter the country through the “Preferential Handling Procedure,” that does not require them to pass Japanese fuel efficiency tests. These cars, which had been excluded from the program, will now be considered – based on mileage data collected in the U.S. Good luck with that. (Read More…)
The nerve, the nerve: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada when they met – halfway in Hawaii, so that both had to travel – on Tuesday “that concerns are rising in the U.S. Congress” about Japan’s cash for clunkers incentive scheme, Reuters reports.
As if there aren’t other pressing problems. Such as the economy, global warming, saving the whales, or saving the Marines on Okinawa. (Well, they discussed the Marines. Inconclusively.)
Under the belated Japanese C4C scheme, consumers get up to $2,800 if they trade in their 13 year or older car for new vehicle that meets the 2010 fuel economy standard of 35.5 mpg. So far, so good. (Read More…)
Cash for Clunkers was set up very quickly, and there hasn’t been an accounting of the administrative costs of the program. There also hasn’t been publicly available information about how contractors were picked to process the thousands of transactions that the program generated… My concern is the waste, fraud and abuse that may have resulted from the vulnerabilities that can come with such a quick start.
Senator Chuck Grassley sticks it to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, in a letter requesting a full accounting of the cash for clunker program. The DOT was all over fraudulent commercial practices during C4C, but this is the first investigation into possible fraud or overruns on the administration side. Why Grassley waited until now to look into this doesn’t exactly compute, but it will still be interesting to see the results of the audit. After all, could it even be possible that the government spent $3b in a matter of weeks on a consumer incentive without fraud of some kind taking place?
As countries in Europe wind down their cash for clunkers programs, China is increasing the bounty on old cars. China’s Ministry of Commerce said that qualified car owners who trade in outdated or “highly polluted” vehicles will receive a subsidy between US$733 and $2635 this year, up from last year’s maximum $878, reports Shanghai Daily.
Each year, the „Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache“ (association for the German language) selects its word of the year. This year, the German WOTY is, you guessed it …
To qualify for Japan’s cash-for-clunker program, new vehicles must meet the 2010 fuel economy standard of 35.5 mpg, making 87 percent of Japanese-made vehicles on sale in their home market eligible for the credit of up to $2,800. In fact, the Japanese program doesn’t even require a clunker (MY 1996 or older) to trade in, although without giving up an inefficient vehicle, the best credit available is a mere $1,132. But the American Automotive Policy Council calls these rules “unfair,” telling the Freep:
We urge the U.S. government to make clear that it cannot tolerate this outright discrimination, particularly at a time when it has provided substantial direct financial support for Japanese automakers in this market
Huh? Is the AAPC talking about America’s cash-for-clunker program, which (like Japan’s) sent Honda and Toyota sales soaring? Or the $1.6b DOE “ATVML” loans that Nissan got, which were dwarfed by the same program’s generosity towards Ford? Or perhaps the $82b+ TARP bailout that… oh wait, that all went to Detroit. Ok, let’s forget about America’s “substantial direct financial support for Japanese automakers” for a second and figure out just how unfair this Japanese program is.
From the Calculated Risk Blog comes this manifestation of the cash-for-clunker boom, as measured by Google’s auto buyer index. Because of seasonal downturn, it seems that pull-forward may not have been as devastating as was once thought. But will next January see the usual post-holiday recovery again?
More new information from today’s GAO post:
Moreover, whether enough time has passed for the impact of the structural changes to be seen is unlikely, especially given that the automakers have not completed restructuring, the economy is still recovering, and new vehicle purchases remain at low levels. For instance, although the federal Car Allowance Rebate System program resulted in a sales spike in August,16 September sales returned to historically low levels. These and other challenges are likely to delay the companies’ recovery beyond what it would be under more favorable economic circumstances.
As TTAC noted last Friday, “finding a real, sustainable bottom of the market from which to grow is not made easier by erratic bursts of stimulus frenzy.”