• Apr 2nd 2009 at 2:40PM
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Reiterating their position from last December, SEMA has issued a statement against the ever-more-likely "Cash for Clunkers" proposal. This proposal, which would give Americans a financial incentive to get rid of older vehicles in favor of new models, could grant incentives of $3,000 to $5,000 to scrap vehicles that are at least eight years old and buy a new car that gets at least 27 miles-per-gallon on the highway (24 mpg for trucks). SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association, joins the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) in taking their opposition public. Here's their reasoning:

SEMA and the AAIA basically say that there are tremendous downsides to the Obama Administration's plan. SEMA argues that taxpayer dollars would be wasted "on a program that may produce an artificial spike in sales, but does not reduce emissions or increase fuel efficiency." SEMA also warns that the program will be "misused by those who own two or three older cars and seek to take advantage of the taxpayer give-away. Many of these cars aren't frequently driven, if at all, so destroying them will not clean the nation's air or make us less dependent on foreign oil." The AAIA puts the whole thing even more bluntly: Cash for Clunkers "will harm the environment, negatively impact car owners, waste billions of taxpayer dollars and hurt the hundreds of thousands of vehicle service and repair businesses in America."

The AAIA represents 100,000 repair shops, parts stores and distribution outlets while SEMA has 7,358 member companies. Clearly, both of these organizations benefit from having older cars that are no longer covered by warranty on America's roads. SEMA admits as much, saying that the government's proposal will "hurt thousands of independent repair shops, auto restorers, customizers and their customers across the country."

The AAIA recently tried to fight the bill by saying that landfills would be stuffed to the gills with scrapped cars if it becomes law. Of course, 84 percent of cars (by weight) are recycled and 95 percent of vehicles go through the recycling process in the U.S. There are other environmental reasons to oppose the proposal: tremendous amounts of energy and resources are required to build new cars, for example. And, without a requirement of a mpg increase from the scrapped vehicle (not just the stated minimums for the new vehicles), the Cash for Clunkers program won't necessarily have a huge impact on greening the nationwide fleet. But the government is interested in stimulating sales right now, and scrappage programs like have shown that they can work.

[Sources: SEMA; Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association / Photo: dave_7, CC2]


Administration Cash for Clunkers Proposal Bad for Consumers & Environment

Trade Association Cautions Against Creating Another Home Mortgage Debacle

BETHESDA, Md., March 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- While the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) supports efforts by the Obama administration to help stabilize U.S.-based vehicle manufacturers, the association cautions that the "Cash for Clunkers" proposal will harm the environment, negatively impact car owners, waste billions of taxpayer dollars and hurt the hundreds of thousands of vehicle service and repair businesses in America.

AAIA strongly opposes the use of Cash for Clunkers programs, which threaten jobs in the independent aftermarket industry by removing repair opportunities for vehicles and raising the cost of used cars and parts.

"It seems arrogant to destroy perfectly good vehicles with many more years of useful life just to entice consumers to purchase a car that they might not be able to afford," said Kathleen Schmatz, AAIA president and CEO. "This is hauntingly reminiscent to the home mortgage debacle when consumers purchased homes they could not afford."

Cash for Clunkers would prematurely destroy vehicles and their valuable parts and components, denying more affordable used vehicles and parts to millions of low and middle income families who cannot afford to purchase a new car even with a $3,000 to $5,000 government voucher.

About AAIA

AAIA is a Bethesda, Md.-based association whose more than 23,000 members and affiliates manufacture, distribute and sell motor vehicle parts, accessories, service, tool, equipment, materials and supplies. Through its membership, AAIA represents more than 100,000 repair shops, parts stores and distribution outlets.

SEMA Press Statement Re: Cash for Clunkers

WASHINGTON, March 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) applauds efforts to help consumers, automakers and dealerships with a program to stimulate new car sales. We support the concept of government-issued vouchers toward the purchase of fuel-efficient new vehicles and allowing consumers to deduct the car interest payments on their taxes.

However, SEMA continues to oppose tying these vouchers to vehicle scrappage programs, known as "cash for clunkers." The programs accelerate the demise of older vehicles, which are then typically crushed into blocks of sheet metal. Scrappage programs focus on a car's age rather than how much it is driven or its actual emissions. SEMA has consistently warned against wasting taxpayer dollars on a program that may produce an artificial spike in sales, but does not reduce emissions or increase fuel efficiency.

Automakers and dealers need to sell cars in order to survive, but potential buyers have hit the brakes in these tough economic times. Scrappage programs actually would deny vouchers to the majority of people who may want to buy a new car but don't have an eligible older car to trade. Instead, these programs will be misused by those who own two or three older cars and seek to take advantage of the taxpayer give-away. Many of these cars aren't frequently driven, if at all, so destroying them will not clean the nation's air or make us less dependent on foreign oil.

While supporters tout a similar German program as evidence of success, the European Federation for Transport and the Environment, (the pan-European federation of environmental groups), has urged Germany and other countries to abandon scrappage subsidies because they do more environmental harm than good by artificially accelerating the car life cycle.

Scrappage programs hurt thousands of independent repair shops, auto restorers, customizers and their customers across the country. This industry provides thousands of American jobs and generates millions of dollars in local, state and federal tax revenues. We encourage the President to help the entire auto industry with programs that focus the incentive where it counts - on the purchase of new vehicles and not destroying older cars.


SEMA represents the $38.1 billion specialty automotive industry. Founded in 1963, the trade association has 7,358 member companies. It is the authoritative source of research data, trends and market growth information for automakers and the specialty auto products industry. The industry provides appearance, performance, comfort, convenience and technology products for passenger cars, minivans, trucks, SUVs, crossovers and recreational vehicles. For more information, contact SEMA at 1575 S. Valley Vista Dr., Diamond Bar, CA, 91765-3914; call 909/396-0289; or visit www.sema.org or www.enjoythedrive.com.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is just the incentive I've been waiting for. I've been intensely watching this bill work so well in Europe and will be very proud when it passes here (and it will pass, BoxerFanatic...sorry about your taxes...as for MY taxes, I don't care because taxes are how we pay for things...now please go away...you've made your point a thousand times in this thread).

      I will trade in my 1999 Ford F-150 (V6 5MT) that gets 23 mpg for a VW Jetta Sportwagon (hopefully diesel will be available by then).

      Can't wait! Go Obama!!!
        • 6 Years Ago
        If that is what you think... that "taxes is how we pay for things"... then you have no idea how this country was built, and you are part of the problem, and part of this country's destruction.

        You aren't going to learn how you are being fleeced until it is too late. You won't have enough left to put diesel in that Jetta.

        If it were only you, I would leave you to it. But that mentality is going to sink EVERYONE, and some of us know better, and are saying so now, while we still can.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Again, it's not just about "car hobby interests". It's not just about new 22" wheels.

      It's about the entire car maintenance industry OUTSIDE of the automakers and the dealerships. FOR YOUR DAILY DRIVER.

      By decreasing the average lifecycle of a car, automakers get to constantly use more and more energy to build more new cars and monopolizes the car repair industry. How does that save the environment and help the consumer?

      Try maintaining your old car, trading it in, and saving to buy a newer one instead of depending on a handout.

      Imagine if Cars for Clunkers passes:
      Eight years from now, everyone will drive their car to the ground and EXPECT to get a handout. Carmakers will increase energy usage by 20% to keep up with demand, further polluting the air. Manufacturers of aftermarket maintenance car parts will go out-of-business along with autoparts stores. The only place you can go to get your car repaired after the 4/5-year warranty expires is at the dealership. You have no alternative, so they charge you as much as they like.

      Someone, please tell me how this is all good for the average, middle-class to upper middle-class consumer? I promise I will listen.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Please keep your emotions in check and stay on topic, like adults. This is about the Cars for Clunkers bill, not about the president. This bill was already in progress before he came along.

      Provide alternatives or solutions to Cars for Clunkers, or come up with logical, large-scale arguments in favor of it. I am open to logical opposition.

      Emotional political rants only make you look like a spoiled, emotionally undeveloped, partially educated teenager.

      This may be too much to ask. Some people prefer to stay children and let their fears get the best of them.
        • 6 Years Ago
        And calling people names is so much more mature. You have no idea who you are describing, and lashing out with generalities makes you look petty and unsophisticated, and lacking for an actual merit-based argument.

        There is an alternative. Salvage and Scrap yards. No government needed. No additional taxes need be collected. It has worked for many many years.

        This is LEGISLATION. POLITICS IS AT THE HEART OF THE MATTER. Get with it, or you'll find yourself wondering what has happened to your freedom, when it is too late. That isn't emotional, that is real, and it has happened throughout history.

        • 6 Years Ago
        IF you actually read my post, you would see I was on your side. Douche bag.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Look, if you read my blog you would see that I already agree with that. I'm on your side, you douche bag.
      • 6 Years Ago

      right on man, i whole heartedly agree with you............

      P.S. good job SEMA for preventing this one from passing...............
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is ridiculous, this program is not made to save the environment, it's to get people to buy new cars to help the big 3 and our economy. We can worry about the environment when we have the money to spend on it, now is not the time in my opinion.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It works so well in Germany that they extended the program...over 100,000 already turned in their 10 year old cars.

      In the U.S. cars are 10 years old on average.....so this bill will have a HUGE impact!

      Besides, if $3000 tax payer cash is spent on each car, some of it will be recouped when the individual buys a new car (in the form of sales tax).
        • 6 Years Ago
        Anyone run the numbers on how much these cars return when they are recycled. I thought upwards of 90 % of cars can be reused/recycled. I don't imagine the feds just giving these to junkyards to profit off of....perhaps they'll be selling them to scrappers to help recoup part of the incentive given out?

      • 6 Years Ago
      I wonder if this is going to based on EPA ratings?

      According to that my 01 Buick Regal gets 28 MPG HWY. Not that I've ever seen it.

      But as far as I can tell that means this thing would not be eligible?
      • 6 Years Ago
      BoxerFanatic: "Obama may have won, but he didn't win that big"

      The president garnered 9.5 million more popular votes, and took the electoral college by a 365-173 margin. If you're going to do nothing but speak in conservative declaratives, you might want to stick to your dated opinions and not something anyone can fact-check quickly.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The biggest thing they fail to consider is, that Cash for Clunkers; does not mean everyone with a 8+yr old car will go out and buy a new just because the bill passed. We are in an extreme credit crunch, and people with less than stellar credit will still be unable to purchase a new vehicle as much as they'd like to.

      The program does however, encourage those that might have bought if our economy wasn't in the slumps, to maybe purchase a new vehicle and get a little kickback out of it.

      As for the money, our government wastes billions more on less worthy causes then this. Our national debt is already in the trillions of dollars, we are printing money at this point. Whats another couple billion of debt, if it creates another 10 billion of commerce?
        • 6 Years Ago
        And more government spending that creates more taxes, will kill more jobs.

        Government spending does not create private sector wealth, it steals private sector wealth, because the Government uses up monetary value, it doesn't add any value.

        the government is an external cost-center, not a revenue-center. It has a few necessary uses, that are justifiable costs, but it doesn't create value, it saps value away.

        The more and more and more they spend, the more and more and more they waste. The spending and the waste has to be paid by people who actually have to try to generate that value in the market, and have it taxed away from them.

        Has anyone in this country had an economics class, and understand monetary theory? Money only looks green. It is actually made out of blood, sweat, tears, energy, time, and talent.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You got some funky punctuation but I think your perspective is right on. I'm with you on this one.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Piling a pound more manure on a 10 ton pile of manure doesn't make for less manure.

        A little bit more, because there is already so much there, is a bullcrap argument.

        Maybe someone with some effect in the government should pass legislation to start shoveling us OUT of this mess, instead of shoveling more manure on the pile, and justifying it because it is only a "little more".
        • 6 Years Ago
        Uh last time I checked, the more money a company makes in a year, the more taxes they pay on it. This bill could very well pay for itself. Your argument is null.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "on a program that may produce an artificial spike in sales, but does not reduce emissions or increase fuel efficiency."

      There are cars that are 20 years old and get 50MPG! Not to mention, score nearly perfect on the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Scale! 1989 Honda CRX HF


      While the technology of the ENGINES has increased efficiency, the WEIGHT of the vehicle (due to creature comforts such as TV and automatic everything) has steadily increased. The whole problem of inefficient cars is a mindset-issue of the average person. Most people want comfort, not efficiency - often resulting in poor gas efficiency.

      I don't like the idea of paying higher taxes to buy subsidize someone's old "clunker." So they can go put themselves in more debt. Inevitably, we will have people buying cars they have no business purchasing because they will have 10% to put down - but can't afford the payments - housing market burst anyone?

      If you can't already afford a new car, or can't afford to fix the one you own, or you aren't buying because the economy is bad - you don't need to buy one anyway, regardless of the $3000-5000!
      • 6 Years Ago
      One more thing:

      Competition has forced carmakers to produce better quality, less polluting cars that can actually last 10+ years with regular maintenance. This has been the silent contributing factor to the slump in car sales over the past few years. Cars for Clunkers is another attempt to mitigate the impact of this factor by discouraging regular maintenance beyond the warranty period, accelerating the both the ownership lifecycle and car lifecycle.


      Try buying a good car with decent gas mileage, pay it off, and maintain it a few years without making car payments. You'll notice the increase in your monthly savings and have more money to spend on your home, vacation, and local businesses, including your friendly local repairshop that can only survive on a reputation for quality, honest service.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is a classic example of why no valuable legislation ever gets passed and when it does it is so watered down it is useless.
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