Photo Courtesy whitehouse.gov
While President Barak Obama’s press conference on what his administration is doing to solve the crisis in the U.S. auto industry focused mostly on helping out General Motors and Chrysler, he did give brief mention of a few initiatives aimed at jump-starting car sales at the consumer level.
Two main programs were discussed, including a scrappage program and tax deductions.
President Obama said that he will be looking into ways to see if there is any money to set aside in a fund to create a scrappage plan. While no specifics were given as to the details of the plan, usually these programs give consumers a significant rebate on the purchase of a new car when they trade in or “scrap” their old car. Often cars must be close to 10 years of age to qualify.
A similar program was launched in Germany several months ago with resounding success, boosting car sales by 21 percent in February over the previous period a year earlier. President Obama said that such a plan in the United States could increase car sales by as much as 100,000 units in 2009.
It is not clear if the scrappage plan would apply to just GM and Chrysler products, or to any vehicle manufactured within the United States, or to any vehicle at all.
The second incentive would allow for tax paid on a new car to be deducted from one’s income tax. This program is further developed as President Obama said his administration has already begun working with the IRS. A specific time frame has also been given that would seen the tax deduction apply to any vehicle purchased between February 16th and December 31st of this year.
The scrappage plan, once it goes into effect, would be retroactive as of today.