Daily Podcast: Confusion for Clunkers

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

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.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

More by Edward Niedermeyer

Join the conversation
4 of 10 comments
  • Jpcavanaugh Jpcavanaugh on Jul 22, 2009

    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.

  • Soxfan Soxfan on Jul 22, 2009

    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.

  • 50merc 50merc on Jul 23, 2009

    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!"

  • Murphysamber Murphysamber on Jul 23, 2009

    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.