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Cash for Clunkers Winds Up Costing $2.9 Billion; Toyota the Big Winner

The final numbers are in for the federal government's Cash for Clunkers program: Some 690,114 applications were taken for a total cost of $2.9 billion, according to the Transportation Department.

Here are the Top 10 vehicles purchased in the program, which gave new car buyers a $4,500 taxpayer-supplied credit toward purchase. The takeaway is pretty stark: Buyers traded in American vehicles for Japanese vehicles.

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

Here are Top 10 vehicles traded in under the program:

1. Ford Explorer 4WD
2. Ford F150 Pickup 2WD
3. Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD
4. Ford Explorer 2WD
5. Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan 2WD
6. Jeep Cherokee 4WD
7. Chevrolet Blazer 4WD
8. Chevrolet C1500 Pickup 2WD
9. Ford F150 Pickup 4WD
10. Ford Windstar FWD Van

The story on mileage:

Average new-vehicle mileage: 24.9 miles per gallon.
Average clunker mileage: 15.8 miles per gallon.
Increase: 9.1 miles per gallon.

-- Frank Ahrens
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By Frank Ahrens  |  August 26, 2009; 12:25 PM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: cash for clunkers  
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The people saving the American auto industry seem to be saving the Japanese auto industry. Detroit Welfare City. Tokyo Minted. What a bamboozle.

Posted by: Dermitt | August 26, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Frank, you might want to reassess that American vs. foreign storyline. American car manufacturers tend to have more names for very similar cars (for example, a Dodge Stratus ES, not to be confused with a Dodge Stratus). So any one American car isn't going to be purchased in such large numbers because the American car lines are sliced up so much by the marketers.

A better way to look at it is that Toyota got 19 percent of the new-car sales from cash for clunkers, General Motors got 18 percent, and on down the line. I don't have all the figures, but Ford was up pretty high as well, although not quite at GM's share. I wish you had reported those numbers, which actually show which big US and foreign brands got the sales, as opposed to the car-by-car list, which is misleading.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | August 26, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

cars sold, people called back to work at the American Ford, GM, Toyota factories.

and the gop is upset.

(must be because the CEO"S didn't get billions)

Posted by: newagent99 | August 26, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Generally, trade-in vehicles must get 18 or less MPG (some very large pick-up trucks and cargo vans have different requirements)


Posted by: jimhenry2708 | August 27, 2009 1:10 AM | Report abuse

I see it, not as a cost, but rather an INVESTMENT in America! I traded in a 1995 gas-guzzler and got a 35mpg Versa. Bankers benefit: Lower Risk Financing. Hurting Ma n'Pa dealerships sold some cars for a change. Communities benefit from cash flow through their economies. States benefit from increased revenues on registrations, licensings and taxes. Recipients of charity cars-folks who can hardly afford gas for a Honda-benefit with more worn out gas guzzlers gone. Estimated gas savings so far is around $186Million meaning less demand on supply: gas prices lowering should follow. With 35-40million used cars sold every year, the 690K Clunkers is but a drop in the bucket -What the heck are Used Car sellers whining about??? Obama cancelled the Marine One program at $13Billion-that savings easily pays for this program....besides why was there so much silence when Bush was spending $12BILLION per month on his war-folly?

Posted by: neitzkeG | August 27, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Cash for Dead Batteries is coming soon. Acid and lead recycling to save the world. Big federal funds up for grabs. Should only cost $5 billion and save the battery makers of the world and help GM fund the 230 mpg Volt we are getting soon. Maybe we can all play russian roulette with the kids before bedtime and drink DrainO too.

Posted by: Dermitt | August 27, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Toyota the big winer USA the big loser. Number one Carolla production moving to Canada.

Aug. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Toyota Motor Corp. will shut an assembly plant for the first time in its 72-year history after the failure of a joint venture with General Motors Corp.

New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. in Fremont, California, will end production of Corolla cars and Tacoma pickups in March 2010, Toyota said in a statement.

Nummi employs 5,400 people, including 4,550 United Auto Workers union positions. More than 1,000 suppliers work with the factory, which has annual payroll and benefits of $523 million, according to a plant publication

Toyota will shift production of Tacoma pickups to San Antonio and move Corollas to its factory in Ontario, Canada.

Posted by: NewTexan | August 28, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Dermitt's post was right on the money. It's misleading to show the top ten cars here when the Big 3 will sale the same car under many other flags. I agree the fairest way of reporting this is that "Toyota got 19 percent of the new-car sales from cash for clunkers, General Motors got 18 percent" and Ford was less than that.GM is so well they called back to work thousands of workers just to keep up with demand, and that is a shot in the arm very much needed by Michigan, likely the state with the worse economy of our Country.

Given the fact GM was in bankruptcy for 60 days or so in 2009, and they STILL were just a tiny bit under Toyota at grabbing the largest piece of the "Clunker's Pie" is solid evidence that G.M. might of finally shown they really can compete when the fire is lit underneath them. Also, given all of the reporting on how well Ford is doing I was in shock that they were #3 as far as taking in the third largest cut of the Cash for Clunker's program (cash).

I agree with Dermitt. The way this story was reported here it would appear GM did not score as well as Ford or Honda, when in reality GM actually took in many more trades and thus sold many more cars/trucks in the cash for clunker's program than Honda or Ford did.

I would hope reporting of such serious stories of which many families depend on such jobs at stake would at least be covered, not ignored.

Posted by: Jammer3 | August 28, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

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