Government Fibs About 'Cash for Clunkers'

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Autoline Detroit host John McElroy reports in his latest Autoblog post that the federal government's so-called Cash For Clunkers subsidy program for car companies is playing fast and loose with the facts about car sales.

Mr. McElroy writes:

"To hear the government tell it, foreign automakers and compact cars were the big winners in the Cash for Clunkers program. The Department of Transportation makes it look like consumers all wanted small fuel-efficient cars, particularly from the import brands.

But McElroy, whose car-themed show airs every Sunday at 10:30AM on Detroit Public Television, points to an analysis by Edmunds.com that shows the opposite of the government's claims. The Edmunds.com study found that numerous Clunker buyers purchased pickup trucks and the nation's only privately-run car manufacturer, Ford Motor Company, landed in the Top Ten list.

"Indeed, Edmunds' analysis shows that the government came up with a bizarre way to count Clunker sales and we know now that the [government Department of Transportation] counted sales based on the drivetrain in a vehicle, not by its nameplate," he reports. "For example, the front-wheel drive version of the Ford Escape was counted separately from the all-wheel drive version. As a result, vehicles that only offer one drivetrain came out on the top of the list.

"No one in the history of the auto industry has ever counted sales this way, and it's mighty peculiar why the government would choose to do so."

McElroy, host of the daily web video Autoline Daily, wants to know: "Is there some other agenda at work?"

In the Edmunds report, Ford captured three of the top four positions. "The Toyota Corolla, which is at the top of the government's list, falls to number five on Edmunds' list behind the F-150, which didn't even make the government's Top Ten," he reports. "The Chevy Silverado didn't make the government's Top Ten either, but it's number eight with Edmunds.

He correctly points out that the government also proclaimed in the "Cash for Clunkers" press hype that consumers traded in their SUVs for fuel-efficient, front-wheel-drive compact cars, which fits the feds' environmentalist agenda. But Edmunds' analysis shows that full-size pickups and compact SUVs were popular choices fpr those consumers using the 'Clunkers' subsidy.

Other problems include government assertions that there were more 'Clunker' trade-ins than new vehicles sold. raising the question of how people could trade in more cars than they bought?

He says the biggest puzzle is why General Motors (GM), Chrysler, and Ford have been silent about the Obama administration's distortions and discrepancies. He figures that GM and Chrysler, which were nationalized by President Obama earlier this year, are afraid to contradict the government.

Here are the top 'Cash for Clunker' sales, according to the government:

1. Toyota Corolla
2. Honda Civic
3. Toyota Camry
4. Ford Focus FWD
5. Hyundai Elantra
6. Nissan Versa
7. Toyota Prius
8. Honda Accord
9. Honda Fit
10. Ford Escape FWD

Top 'Clunker' Sales According to Edmunds

1. Ford Focus
2. Ford Escape
3. Honda Civic
4. Ford F-150
5. Toyota Corolla
6. Toyota Camry
7. Honda CR-V
8. Chevrolet Silverado
9. Hyundai Elantra
10. Honda Accord

[source: John McElroy, Autoblog]

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