Friday, August 28, 2009

Cash for Clunkers and Foreign Car Models

As the Cash for Clunkers program rolled on, there were some complaints that foreign auto models were selling at a much quicker pace than American-made cars. This led to a typical line of comments, particularly by folks who oppose any manner of government stimulus program, about how Cash for Clunkers wasn't doing much to help Detroit automobile manufacturers.

Nate Silver over at has done his usual bang-up job of crunching the numbers and comes up with the graph below.

Notice, if you will, that the three major US auto makers - Ford, Chrysler, and GM - have significantly fewer of their available models that qualify to be purchased under Cash for Clunkers. So caught up in the massive profits of SUVs and trucks that they failed to hop on the fuel efficiency bandwagon, American manufacturers produced few vehicles that met the Cash for Clunkers required minimum of 22 miles per gallon.

Let's hope that this serves as yet another wake-up call for Detroit, and that they begin to crank out quality, high-mileage cars and SUVs. I'm ready for a new car - my Jeep was paid off in January - and if I want to buy American, I still don't have a lot of choices.


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