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Report: Fords Fill Five of Top 10 Spots on Clunkers List

Explorer 4WD tops list of trade-ins under Cash-for-Clunkers

 |  Aug 26 2009, 1:18 PM

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The four-wheel-drive Ford Explorer topped the list of clunkers traded in under the Car Allowance Rebate System.

Ford vehicles appeared five times on the Cash for Clunkers top ten trade-in vehicles list released by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The four-wheel-drive Explorer was number one with the two-wheel-drive version at number four.

The Ford F150 also appeared twice on the list, with the 2WD pickup at number two and the 4WD F-150 at number nine.

Chrysler vehicles appeared on the list three times, thanks to the Jeep Grand Cherokee (#3), Jeep Cherokee (#6) and the Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan (#5).

A pair of Chevys filled out the top ten with the Blazer at seven followed by the 1500 pickup at eight.

According to the DOT, 84% of trade-ins were trucks. The clunkers traded in under the program had an average fuel economy of 15.8 mpg compared to the 24.9 mpg average for new vehicles purchased.

[Source: DOT]

Report: Cash for Clunkers Program Results in 690,114 Deals Worth $2.88 Billion

GM, Ford and Honda all scheduled to increase production to bolster depleted inventories

 |  Aug 26 2009, 12:56 PM

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The Cash for Clunkers program has come to an end and its impact can now be evaluated.

According to U.S. Department of Transportation, dealers submitted 690,114 transactions under the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), more commonly known as Cash-for-Clunkers. Those rebate applications account for $2.877 billion out of the $3 billion approved by Congress.

That number may rise considerably, however, as rejected filings are resubmitted. The DOT has said that filings approved after last nights deadline will be reimbursed. The DOT reported several issues with its servers approaching the deadline, which may account the fact that only $229 million in claims were filed during the last 36 hours of the program, while over the previous weekend $611 million in claims were filed.

A preliminary analysis by the White House Council of Economic Advisers says the CARS program boosted economic growth in the third quarter of 2009 by 0.3-0.4 percent, will help sustain an increased fourth quarter GDP and create or save 42,000 jobs in the second half of 2009.

“American consumers and workers were the clear winners thanks to the cash for clunkers program,” says U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Manufacturing plants have added shifts and recalled workers. Moribund showrooms were brought back to life and consumers bought fuel efficient cars that will save them money and improve the environment.”

Ford and General Motors recently announced production increases for the second half of the year due to the demand generated by the CARS program. Honda also said it will increase production at its plants in East Liberty and Marysville, Ohio, and in Lincoln, Ala.

“This is one of the best economic news stories we’ve seen and I’m proud we were able to give consumers a helping hand,” said LaHood.

[Source: DOT and Automotive News]

 |  Aug 21 2009, 12:41 PM

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Car owners hoping to take advantage of the “cash for clunkers” incentive program will have to do it by this Monday (Aug. 21) at 8 p.m., as the Obama Administration shuts down the popular program.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), offering incentives for trade-ins, should have enough funding to support one more weekend of sales. Earlier this month, the U.S. government pumped $2 billion into the program on top of the original $1 billion in funding. At the time, LaHood estimated the total $3 billion in funding would last until Labor Day. Looks like LaHood was off by a couple of weeks.

LaHood said there are no plans to expand the program again, but some representatives, including Democrat Sander Levin or Royal Oak, Mich.,  say Congress should add another $1 billion into the program.

[Source: The Detroit News]

 |  Aug 19 2009, 5:17 PM

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The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) has asked the U.S. government to suspend the Cash-for-Clunkers program immediately as it believes the $3 billion in earmarked funds have already been used up.

NADA Chairman John McEleney told Automotive News that based on a survey of its dealers it believes the $3 billion in funding could be used up as of today. But according to the Transportation Department, only 411,624 claims have been filed, accounting for a total of $1,72 billion. The difference says McEleny is due to rejected claims that have yet to be re-submittted.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, has said that the $3 billion should last until Labor day, but NADA’s track record is also pretty good, as the group was the one to raise the alarm that the initial $1 billion in funding, intended to run for several months had dried up in just two weeks.

Earlier in the week LaHood said that the Transportation Department is readying a plan to wind-down the Cash-for-Clunkers program, commenting that even if the fund dries up, the dealers will still be reimbursed.

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  Aug 18 2009, 2:22 PM

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In a sign that the Cash-for-Clunkers program is working and that car sales are finally starting to turn a corner, General Motors has announced that it is increasing production and adding overtime shifts at several plants.

Shifts will be added at GM’s CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada and at the Lordstown, Ohio plant. The Lordstown facility is responsible for assembly of the Chevy Cobalt, while the Ingersoll facility is home to the GMC Terrain and the all new 2010 Chevrolet Equinox (pictured above).

The added shifts means General Motors will bring 1,350 employees back on the job.

Earlier this month Gm added overtime shifts at its Arlington, Texas plant where the Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon are made.

The total production increase is said to be roughly 60,000 units, a move deemed necessary by General Motors to ensure its dealers have an appropriate number of vehicles on their lots after a surge in sales following the recent Cash-for-Clunkers legislation saw dealer inventories hit their lowest point since 1991.

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  Aug 07 2009, 10:55 AM

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A week after reports that the original $1 billion allocated for the Cash-for-Clunkers program was running low, President Obama today signed into law an additional $2 billion that will keep the program running and fuel a rebounding auto industry.

In just two weeks since the original bill was passed the Cash-for-Clunkers or CARS (Car Allowance Rebate System) has netted $920 million in rebates and has accounted for more than 220,000 new car sales.

The boost to the auto industry has prompted speculation that total car sales for the year, which only a few months ago were pegged at under 10 million, will now exceed the 13 million unit mark.

Automakers are also looking to boost production output as inventory levels have dropped to their lowest levels since 1992. Measured in the number of days worth of inventory a dealer has on its lot, Chrysler dropped its inventory from 71 to 40 days, Ford shed 9 days (from 57 to 48) while both GM and Toyota lost 18 days, from 82 to 64 and 47 to 29 respectively.

[Source: Automotive News 1 and 2]

 |  Aug 06 2009, 10:45 AM

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Audi will offer an additional $1,000 off any vehicle that also meets the requirements for a Cash-for-Clunkers rebate. This means customers could save up to $5,500 off the price of a new Audi.

Eligible vehicles for the CARS (Car Allowance Rebate System) rebate include hatchbacks, sedans, convertibles, crossovers and even sports cars. Notable models include the Audi A3, the new 2009 Audi A4, the TT (both Coupe and Roadster) and the new Q5 crossover.

“The CARS reimbursement enacted by Congress is a tremendous opportunity for consumers interested in upgrading to vehicles that offer better fuel efficiency and reduced emissions,” said Mark Del Rosso, Chief Operating Officer at Audi of America. “Now that some uncertainties surrounding the launch of this federal program have been cleared up the time is right to enhance the deal even further.”

Audi is awaiting official EPA ratings on the fuel-efficiency of its 2010 models to see if they will also be eligible for both the Audi and Cash-for-Clunkers discounts.

See the full list of eligible models after the jump:

Continue Reading…

Ford Posts Surprising Sales Gain of 2% In July

First increase since 2007 a sign that Ford is on the right track

 |  Aug 03 2009, 7:22 PM

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With the current state of affairs in the auto industry, smaller than expected losses have been cause to celebrate, so imagine the party the folks over at Ford must be having right now as the company announced today that it actually posted a sales gain.

Last month Ford’s 10 percent loss was seen as a sign that Ford is on the right track and that the economy might just be recovering. This month the American automaker posted a two percent increase compared to the same month a year earlier. But that number doesn’t even tell the whole story as retail sales were actually up nine percent. Less impressive fleet sales (notorious for low profit margins) curbed that number down to two percent.

As a sign that Ford is not only fighting off this recession, but that the automaker is actually producing products that consumers want to buy, this sales gain is the first since November 2007.

Ford’s sales and marketing VP Ken Czubay credited the company’s fuel-efficient vehicles, combined with the government’s Cash-for-Clunkers program for the positive results. “We had another strong month in progress before the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program started,” he said. “Our products, our dealers and our advance preparation enabled us to leverage the program and drive traffic and sales to another level. In addition, we achieved a sales increase even though we decreased incentive spending in an increasingly competitive environment.”

Particularly successful models for Ford included the Fusion, Escape, Ranger and Flex. Fusion sales were up 66 percent; Escape sales were up 94 percent; while Ranger and Flex sales were both up 65 percent over a year ago. In addition Ford saw a drastic increase in the number of customers opting for hybrids, with Ford’s hybrid lineup (including the Fusion, Milan, Escape and Mariner) posting an increase of 323 percent.

Official release after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Aug 03 2009, 7:11 AM

2009 Nissan Sentra 2 SL (10)

With the U.S. government’s Cash-for-Clunkers rebate now available, Nissan is improving the fuel-economy of its cars to increase the chances that you’ll qualify for the full $4,500 at one of its dealerships.

The CARS (Car Allowance Rebate System) program works by giving a $3,500 or $4,500 voucher towards a new car when it gets 4 mpg or 10 mpg (respectively) more than the vehicle being traded in.

One vehicle that has already received some fuel-efficiency revisions in the Sentra, which reportedly gets a short list of minor modifications to improve overall fuel-economy by 1 mpg. That may not sound like much, but every small 1 mpg step means a lot of three and nine mpg differences just became four and 10 mpg differences and Nissan just attracted a lot of new bargain-hunting customers.

The revised Sentra is currently being evaluated by the EPA and Nissan will no doubt send out an official press release once the new fuel-economy rating has been approved.

[Source: Automotive News via Autoblog]

 |  Jul 30 2009, 10:00 PM

 

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If you’ve been trying to decide whether or not to trade in your gas guzzler on a new fuel-efficient model and cash in on the government’s $4,500 CARS rebate, you’ve waited too long. The program, funded with 1 billion dollars of tax payers’ money is already running low – just six days after the Obama Administration officially launched it.

According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), by the end of the Wednesday work day dealers had submitted 22,782 claims for a total of $95.5 million. 

At that rate the program will run out of money long before the planned CARS (Car Allowance Rebate System) expiration date of November 1st. Reuters cites Bailey Wood, a spokesman for the National Automobile Dealers Association, who speculates the program will run out of funding before the date.

The Cash-for-Clunkers legislation had been criticized heavily before being passed for not being sufficiently funded. 

The good news out of this is that if the CARS rebate system is used up (early or not) it is expected to generate as many as 250,000 car sales – something which should help speed up an economy that already shows signs of recovering.

Reuters cites an unnamed inside government source for the tip, who says the CARS program wil be suspended shortly. There is no word on if there are plans to find additional funding and re-instate Cash-for-Clunkers at a later date.

[Source: Automotive News]

Breaking: New Chrysler Incentive Doubles Cash-for-Clunkers Rebate

New offer means some models discounted by as much as $9,000

 |  Jul 22 2009, 9:12 AM

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In a bid to get inventory moving out of showrooms in a hurry, Chrysler has decided to offer a new incentive program that would double the value of the government’s cash-for-clunkers program.

Chrysler will offer $4,500 off (or 0 percent financing for 72 months) on most of its 2009 inventory – excluding the Dodge Challenger, Sprinter, Jeep Wrangler and all SRT products. The $4,500 incentive is even available on vehicles that do not meet the requirements for the cash-for-clunkers program, which was recently signed off on by President Obama.

Cash-for-Clunkers, or CARS (Car Allowance Rebate System) gives a $4,500 rebate on a new car when it gets 10 mpg or more better fuel mileage than the one traded in. The rebate is $3,500 on vehicles that get 4 to 9 mpg better or trucks that get 2 to 4 mpg better.

Chrysler, now under new leadership from Italian automaker Fiat is hoping the incentive will help sales rebound. Chrysler has been hit particularly hard this year with sales down 45.7 percent for the first six months.

When combined, these two offers mean a $17,090, Dodge Caliber SE could leave showrooms for as little as $8,090.

Chrysler’s “Double Ca$h for Your Old Car,” incentive starts tomorrow and runs through August.

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  Jun 26 2009, 12:14 PM

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After passing through both the Senate and the House, the Cash-for-Guzzlers bill has been signed by President Obama. Known also as Cash-for-Clunkers, the official name of the legislation is CARS – the Car Allowance Rebate System.

Vehicles that are traded in must get 18 mpg or worse and be newer than 25 years old. For those who trade in their guzzler for a vehicle that gets (on average) 4 mpg more will receive a $3,500 voucher toward the new car, while those who choose a vehicle that gets 10 mpg more than their current auto will receive the full $4,500.

The rules are slightly different for trucks as the full $4,500 voucher will be available for gas guzzling trucks when traded in on a new truck that gets 5 mpg more.

The hope is that this new legislation will boost auto sales. Similar initiatives (but which target old cars and not gas guzzling ones) have been a huge success in countries like German.

The CARS act will take effect at the end of July.

Those looking for more info can visit the CARS website here:

http://www.cars.gov/

Honda Insight Sales Lower Than Expected in U.S.

Company execs warn Insight may not hit forecasted sales goal

 |  Jun 16 2009, 9:42 AM

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Honda is warning that it may not meet its forecasted sales target for the all-new 2010 Insight hybrid and is citing both the worldwide recession and the low cost of gas as factors.

The Japanese automaker set an ambitious target of 200,000 units for the car’s first year, with almost half of those vehicle sales being in the U.S.

“Given some dramatic change in things, I don’t think we’ll get to 90,000. At 50,000 to 60,000, we will be just fine,” said Honda America VP John Mendel to Bloomberg. Despite this news Honda is not updating its forecast.

According to a Reuters report Honda is also concentrating on sales in Japan right now, as unfavorable exchange rates with the U.S. mean that profit margins are slim for cars sold in the U.S.

In Japan, the Insight was the best selling car in the month of April, but Honda lost that title in May to the 2010 Toyota Prius.

U.S. Insight sales may get a significant boost in the second half of 2009 if the Cash for Guzzlers legislation comes into effect. With an average fuel-economy rating of 41 mpg, the Insight will be an ideal candidate for those looking to get a deal as they trade in their high-mpg car or truck.

The Cash for Guzzlers bill gives as much at $4,500 for new vehicles that exceed the traded-in vehicles’ fuel-economy rating by 10 mpg. And at a starting price of just $19,800, there are a lot of 31 mpg cars that can be traded in to make that total just $14,300.

[Source: Automotive News]

“Cash for Guzzlers” Approved by House

New legislation aimed at improving sales of fuel-efficient cars

 |  Jun 10 2009, 9:43 AM

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Late yesterday the House of Representatives approved a bill that would offer consumers up to $4,500 to trade in their vehicle on a more fuel-efficient machine. The legislation must now go before the Senate before President Barack Obama is expected to give it final approval.

The bill passed with a strong majority of 298 to 119 and has also received the support of U.S. automakers.

Still, the CARS Act as it is being called is significantly different from the successful incentive programs used in Europe as its aim is not to sell cars, but to sell fuel efficient cars.

Vehicles that are traded in must get 18 mpg or worse. For those who trade in their guzzler for a vehicle that gets (on average) 4 mpg more will receive a $3,500 voucher toward the new car, while those who choose a vehicle that gets 10 mpg more than their current auto will receive the full $4,500.

Programs in Europe, like the incredibly successful one in Germany, target older cars, rather than gas guzzlers.

The CARS act is a temporary measure and is being funded through a $4 billion fund. It is also not retroactive.

If passed in the Senate and approved by President Obama, it is likely to go into effect 30 days afterward, which may mean consumers won’t be able to cash in on incentives until August 1st – a full six months after programs like the one in Germany were put into effect.

[Source: Automotive News and LeftLaneNews]