Confirmed: Chrysler Kills "Double Ca$h" for Clunkers Because It Ran Out of Cars
The Wall Street Journal confirms TTAC’s report that Chrysler killed its “Double Ca$h” for clunkers ad campaign because they ran out of popular, qualifying vehicles. “The marketing change comes as Chrysler is struggling with low inventory of its most popular products because of prolonged factory shut-downs and after the success of the government program further depleted stocks at dealerships.” How’s this for a quote? “Unfortunately the problem that we face with Chrysler is the lack of inventory,” ChryCo dealer Bill Rosado told the WSJ. “I can’t believe I’m saying this, I need more Chrysler inventory. My goodness, I’ve got to rehearse that line a couple times.” This gives credibility to Ken Elias’ contention—as yet unreported by the MSM—that Uncle Sam’s entire Cash for Clunkers (a.k.a. C.A.R.S.) program fell afoul of low inventories, rather than limited funds. In other words, the program did not run out of cash. It ran out of cars. Which makes me wonder . . .
Given previous reports of a “ring ’round” by the Department of Transportation on the day the program was put in limbo, it seems increasingly likely that the D.O.T. and carmakers contemplated putting the brakes on the program to allow the automakers to play catch-up.
If so, the resulting PR spin—it’s too successful!—belies unreported, misdirected collusion between the feds and carmakers. (Or sensible policy, depending on your perspective.) The question then becomes, were all carmakers’ concerns treated equally? Or did the feds weigh their nationalized wards’ (i.e. Chrysler and GM) distress heavily in the equation?
Meanwhile, the WSJ ends by [almost] pointing out that ChryCo really missed the boat here: “Edmunds.com estimates that Chrysler has spent about 68% more on incentives for the first six months of the year than the industry average, at about $4,693 per vehicle.”
The Cash for Clunkers program dramatically increased demand for some of the former bankrupt automaker’s qualifying products. If Chrysler had the vehicles on the lot, they could have reduced those incentives. Big style.
The chances that new Chrysler new inventory will arrive in time to capitalize on that demand, before the next $2 billion runs out (should the Senate roll over) are slim. Unless, as Mark Tapscott has suggested, the C.A.R.S. program is made permanent.
But Cash for Clunkers is about helping the environment, not propping-up a failed automaker. Right?
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