Ask the Best and Brightest: Is Cash for Clunkers a Rip Off?

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Are consumers receiving a government “rebate” for their clunker paying LESS for their new car than they would have without the rebate? I know that seems like a no-brainer, but never underestimate the perfidy of car dealers. Or, to quote Shakespeare, there’s many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip. Equally salient (if less erudite), the laws of supply and demand can not be denied. With Cash for Clunkers hoovering-up the supply of applicable new cars, why would dealers give their best price on said new car? The statistical data on the question is out there, with hundreds of thousands of transactions logged at US DMVs. A new website and future TTAC partner is on the case. will share the results of their data dive ASAP. Meanwhile, how about some anecdotal evidence or baseless conjecture from TTAC’s Best and Brightest? Did Cash for Clunkers participants get a better deal than they would have if the program had never existed?

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Pch101 Pch101 on Aug 07, 2009
    Toyota, BMW, Ferrari etc… have made the first order of importance on a potential buyer’s priority list more often The Product rather than The Price. Toyota and BMW dealers negotiate, too. The exotics don't have to, but pretty much everyone else, including the Germans and Japanese, does. Americans like to get a good deal. We are a price-sensitive people. We may say that we don't like to negotiate, yet we want all of the benefits of negotiations. You can decide for yourself whether that's greedy or lazy.
  • PeteMoran PeteMoran on Aug 07, 2009

    @ Pch101 No doubt. I'm meaning the Debt3 have created for themselves an army of Price Motivated Buyers. The transplants have more successfully made "The Product" a focus in decisions. Haggle away in the USA!

  • Dynamic88 Dynamic88 on Aug 07, 2009

    OK, here's a question - do they haggle in all other markets as well? That is, do the Germans, Japanese, Italians, Koreans, Dutch, Brits, etc. all haggle. Is "horse trading" universal?

  • KixStart KixStart on Aug 07, 2009

    Good for some laughs: C4C Anectdotes at CNN Money