Post Cash-for-Clunkers Sales Suck
No surprise there. Any automotive analyst worth their salt could have told you—did tell you—that Uncle Sam’s $3 billion Cash for Clunkers program was going to suck the oxygen right out of the showroom. Really, this is one for Johnny Carson. HOW BAD ARE THEY? They’re so bad that salesmen who boast, “You ain’t seen nothing yet!,” know they’re being ironic. Pause. The Associated Press doesn’t “do” irony. (Nor, apparently, sales stats.) Still, their article on September’s new car sales drought is not without merit, suffused as it is with Glengarry Glen Ross-type quotes from starving dealers, caught in the no-man’s land between no inventory and no customers. Here’s the stripper version . . .
“It was good while it lasted,” said Phil Warren, sales manager at Toyota Direct in Columbus, Ohio. “Now we’re a little bit concerned about what happens next. The program may have just taken a lot of people out of the market.”
“We were already in a really mediocre year,” Kelleher said. “We’re just kind of back into that mode again.”
“We’re back into that let’s-wait-and-see mode,” he said. “People aren’t 100 percent sure about the economy yet.”
“That is always a difficult retail period for us. If you see numbers that suggest the market is down in September, it may be absolutely normal,” he said, adding that he isn’t worried about the rest of the year.
“I think there’s more demand out there yet, and the right dealers and the right products will bring those customers out.”
“Most dealers are in a cash-flow crunch because of the federal government not paying up on this,” he said.
“The CFC program definitely had an impact for a brief period of time, but it was like throwing a life jacket on a sinking boat,” said Dan Mahan, desk manager of Riverside Auto Mall with Jeep, Dodge, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda and Nissan outlets in Marquette, Mich.
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