• Oct 30, 2009
The facts in the case of the White House versus Edmunds are essentially indisputable – but they are open for interpretation. The federal government's $3 billion Cash for Clunkers program generated 690,000 sales by providing $3,500 and $4,500 vouchers to car buyers who turned in their eligible car or truck in exchange for a more fuel efficient ride. From here on in, Edmunds and the White House seem to be at considerable odds.

Edmunds recently claimed that its statistical analysis shows that only 125,000 of the nearly 700,000 vehicles purchased under C4C were sales that wouldn't have come in 2009 if it weren't for the much ballyhooed government program. And since the program cost $3 billion to implement, Edmunds came to the conclusion that each incremental sale achieved by C4C cost taxpayers $24,000 per vehicle. As you might imagine, the White House has a problem with that.

The White House starts its quite literally otherworldly retort by noting that that motor vehicle sales increased America's overall economic growth in the third quarter by 1.7%. That's the industry's largest contribution to that metric in over a decade. The WH blog post then states that Edmunds is ignoring the assertion that overall car sales were also positively affected by the Clunkers program above and beyond the 690,000 C4C units sold. To add insult to assault, the White House accuses Edmunds of covering auto sales on Mars.

While the government doesn't have hard facts here, anecdotal evidence certainly shows that August's seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 14 million cars and trucks sold means there were considerably more sales generated by C4C than the 125,000 number would suggest. The WH blog also notes that analysts from Global Insight and Moody's suggest that there has been little payback from the Clunkers program.

The White House also states that C4C will have benefits beyond the third quarter, as production has been bumped at Chrysler, General Motors, Ford and Honda in the fourth quarter. That should mean that GDP will get still another big shot in the arm from the auto industry. The White House then goes on to add that C4C generated 70,000 jobs. We're tempted to call shenanigans on that one, especially considering that divvying up $3 billion between 70,000 jobs only comes out to $42,857 per – and that doesn't account for the actual cars themselves.

Edmunds CEO Jeremy Anwyl took time to respond to the suddenly hostile situation, arguing that government subsidy programs are always expensive when looked at on a per-unit basis. Edmunds adds that it is strictly working with the facts to come up with the $24,000 per vehicle number, and that anecdotal evidence like indirect sales isn't based on concrete data.

[Sources: White House Blogs; Edmunds Auto Observer | Image: Gabriel Bouys/Getty]


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  • 111 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Tomorrow Headlines:

      "IRS investigating Edmunds.com."
      "CBP officers raid Edmunds.com looking for illegal workers"
      "EPA accuses Edmunds.com of dumping"
      "SEC looking inside Edmunds.com books"

      Bottomline...don't mess with the White House.
        • 5 Years Ago
        No Richard S... that indeed happened under the Nixon Administration though.

        You have absolutely zero proof of this happening after only 10 months of the Obama Administration... but right wing conspiracy delusions are so much better than researched FACTS of what ACTUALLY happened under previous administrations.

        Nixon was eventually impeached & the last administration wiped their a$$es with the Constitution yet you & others stayed silent. Bush & company publicly shunned the NYTimes & NBC news yet you & other are freaked by the FOX issues. I just don't say this without back-up. A former Bush era press secretary confirmed it... on FOX.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Relax dude. I did not accuse Obama of nothing, not least because he has done nothing. Nothing, zero, nada. As in the SNL spoof, his only success in C4C was to stimulate the economy.....of Japan. :)

        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm relaxed Rich... I wasn't the one predicting illegal & internal investigations based on a media group challenging the WH.

        Be outraged when this administration actually get CAI+UGHT acting like Nixon's DID.
        • 5 Years Ago
        They can easily solve this issue, do what Goldman Sachs did, get all the money you can and contribute to the people WH likes and supports.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Dear current administration,

      I am appalled by the number of good, usable and more economical cars that were destroyed and will never make it to the people that need something better than what they have but cannot afford a new car. The true "clunkers" are in the hands of the people who can barely afford to put $2000 into a the purchase of a car and desperately need something better than the gas hogging, polluting "clunker' they now have. These are the moms and dads taking their kids to school in true clunker cars and praying that it will make the round trip one more time. Because of C4C and the requirement to destroy the engines in all the cars, there are less replacement engines available for the repair of the true clunkers. This only drives up the cost of newer used engines because of the influx of all the other "non engine" used parts into the market and filling up the parts yards. New seats are of no value to the owners of true clunkers and will not improve the reliability or efficiency or emissions of the true clunkers.

      Yes, a percentage of the cars destroyed were very bad and old and it was good to remove them but that was a very small percentage. Because of C4C, no parts of the engines can be reused or sent off to remanufacturing companies to return in the aftermarket repair industry. I might also add that both the domestic remanufacturing companies and the corner garages rely on these parts and employ mid to lower income people in this country. This is yet another group of American people hurt by C4C.

      C4C is nothing less than completely short sighted because it ignored the needs of mid to low income households. I am not political in any way and am speaking from the point of view that is mine: a simple car guy who's hobby and career involves cars.

      Very sincerely yours,
      A man with greasy hands.

      PS: Just a thought, how many people in Detroit went back to work because of that new Kia you just purchased?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'd call shennigans myself whenever the white house says it created jobs after seeing Katie Couric's report last night.
      HotRodzNKustoms
      • 5 Years Ago
      Edmunds better be careful the Obama administration might put them on them on their sh*t list.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Shhhh, don't say anything bad about the White House. If you disagree with them they will send a letter from a lawyer saying you can't disagree with them on any public media outlet.

      If you decide to continue to do it anyway they will red flag you for IRS audits for the rest of your life.

      They may even send private investigators to dig up dirt on you. Edmunds better watch out, there may be a Jesse Jackson boycott heading your way.

      Maybe we'll become like the UK where your town will send surveillance agents to watch if you don't recycle like they tell you to or put your garbage out a day early.

      After the Net Neutrality act passes I won't even be able to say things like this. Only pro Obama posts will be allowed. If I try to make an anti Obama poster someone from Russel Simmons office will come and tear it down. I'll probably then be arrested for a hate crime.

      Obama, "If we didn't pass cash for clunkers 70,000 auto workers and dealership employees would have been fired. Instead our program sold 690,000 vehicles giving the auto industry reason to keep these people employed. In fact these people weren't even working, see the auto industry had to hire 70,000 more workers just to make the cars to be sold under the Cash for Clunkers program. Now these people will still be working as our factories rebuild the inventories needed to stock dealer lots after our great success. ARE YOU FIRED UP!!! I SAID ARE YOU FIRED UP!!! I AM THE GREATEST. NOW BOW TO ME FOR I AM THY GOD AND SAVIOR!!! NO ONE MAY CHALLENGE ME!!!"
        • 5 Years Ago
        You're out of your f... mind. The Bush administration put us all under surveillance, not Obama. You don't like him, didn't vote for him so you're going to invent anything to tarnish him and his government. They called out Fox News about their exaggerations and inventions, not about the facts that they reported. Any criticism is good, but not libel.
        • 5 Years Ago
        GEESUS H Christ... it must be nut-job, tea-bagger day @ AB!!! Iridium: WTF are you babbling about? You are sad proof that a steady diet of Beck, Bill-O, & Hannity turns some people absolutely BAT $H*T CRAZY!!!

        Your ranting & raving have ZERO to do with this topic. Sad to see rational people vote you "up". Very sad. Political discussion USED to be sane in this country. Ted Kennedy had many Republicans at his funeral. This generation of Dem won't see that.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Leftiest on autoblog are hating on this story. It's one thing to say that such an analysis is from Fox, a right wing network and therefore all propaganda, but it is quite another to start to include other media sources like Edmunds in with them. Katie Couric on CBS today had a story that the stimulus package has not created anywhere near the jobs the administration says it has. It's like the C4C boondoggle program, except at a much bigger scale. Then again, perhaps CBS is also a right wing propaganda network.

      Of course, lefties could always go to autobloggreen, which is where they hang out. They would like everyone to get a taxpayer funded BEV to "save the planet". By 2012, I don't suspect there will be too many lefties on autoblog. Of course by 2012, there might not be much of a demand for new cars anymore. Who'll be able to afford them?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't watch CBS, but I know they ran a report today critical of the obama administration. So if even the MSM is saying the stimulus is bogus, the White House can no longer hide behind the Fox News-is-right wing-propaganda narrative. Like Edmunds, they better watch out, lest they make it onto obama's enemies list.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Wow, change... you watch CBS after years of "Lefty" Dan Rather & then Katie outing how stupid Caribou Barbie really was? O.K.

        So much for Righty & Lefty labels.
      • 5 Years Ago
      ^This is one of the best comments I've read on this blog yet...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Another great objective piece of reporting by AB. I work in this business and was involved in selling vehicles during cfc. In nearly every case, customers were not shy about telling us they were going to buy something anyway but were more than happy to take the extra cash. In most cases the bonus money was needlessly wasted at taxpayer expense. Proof is that nearly every dealership heard the giant sucking sound the following two months as many buyers were pulled ahead in their buying cycle.

      And while we're at it, lets suppose the program generated all 690,000 sales. In nearly every case the clunker was paid for and owned outright and traded-in for a vehicle that needed to be financed. So, using Obamanomics, the government spent $3 billion of borrowed money it doesn't have, to subsidize 690,000 auto sales to people who also don't have the money to pay for the cars they've been enticed to buy. That's change we can believe in.
      WTF?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Watch out Edmunds you're entering Fox News territory with the White House. All must agree with our Dear Leader and never questions his administration.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Uh.... pretty sure it arrived with the patriot act. You know, the one that remove all your rights if you are ACCUSED of "coercing a civilian population," or trying to "influence the policy of a government".

        You right wingers are hilarious. Hilariously retarded.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I second your statement... Communism in the US has arrived and it's called Obama.
        • 5 Years Ago
        quote from Phil M.:

        - "Remember when you couldn't argue with the republican agenda by fear of being called "anti-American" or "terrorist"? What's up with Autoblog being invaded by Republican fear-mongers anyway?" -

        Remember when it was said that "Dissent is the highest form of Patriotism"? Disagreeing witht he administration was liek a badge of honor.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Gruv, how many Democrats voted for Patriot act? Also, as far as i know it is still in effect.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Gruv - that is offensive to special needs people - but typical lib slander - and expected. Just shows you lack any sound judgment.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Remember when you couldn't argue with the republican agenda by fear of being called "anti-American" or "terrorist"? What's up with Autoblog being invaded by Republican fear-mongers anyway?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I apologize for the spelling and grammar mistakes, but I think the intent is clear enough. I just can't type worth a damn :-)
      • 5 Years Ago
      The long-term economic effects are certainly still to be seen, and the environmental impact of getting fuel inefficient vehicles off the road isn't easily reduced into ROI. The program didn't help as much as is claimed, but the numbers suggest it wasn't useless. Will be interesting to see how the WH plays this out...
      • 5 Years Ago
      @chrispy

      Actually, if you had taken the time to read what I've written, you'd realize that I lend about as much credence to the FOX News as, say...a perpetually inebriated hobo rambling incoherently while straining to empty his bowels. Glenn Beck and Bill O' Reilly are reliable sources of information if by reliable you mean, almost never right, and by information you mean, some very gussied up nonsensical bullsh*t. I don't get my news from the television, doing so would be dangerous/probably lead to me losing my mind.

      I think you probably either work at the WH, or for some affiliated uber-leftist/social democratic organization, spend a considerable amount of your time scouring the internet for querulousness (but only the sort which isn't consistent your agenda), and do what you can to marginalize those with dissenting or contrary opinions by speaking in an overtly professorial and condescending tone, effectively making your 'opposition' out to be misinformed, juvenile cretins.

      Penny Pritzker, a woman who profited immensely from the subprime mortgage crisis more or less financed Barack Obama's campaign

      Timothy Geithner was the chair of the NY Federal Reserve, and sat idly by/probably profited from/was complicit in the economic collapse, yet somehow this was overlooked by Obama, as he's now the sec. of the Treasury.

      Richard Haass, the sitting president of the CFR is one of Obama's special envoys to the middle east/advisers. (There's a clip on YouTube in which Chris Matthews speaks of his friendship with Mr. Haass)

      Zbigniew Brzezkinski (co-founder of the TC, with David Rockefeller - who was also an honorary chair of the CFR, primary financial backer) had a child working for both McCain and Obama leading up to the election/prior to the primaries, don't you think it's a bit odd that such a powerful man happened to have a 'man' in the campaigns of both primary winners?

      Nearly every Democratic and Republican Presidential candidate for the most recent election is a member of the CFR. (and this goes back a ways, Jimmy Carter and his entire administration were members prior to being elected, and we wonder why there has been such congruity in perspective among past Presidents when it comes to the issues which matter)

      ...and on, and on. These are the questions I want answers to, the completely contrived and affectatious 'problems' between politicians/dem.'s and rep.'s, are of little to no concern to me. As for the name calling, you used the words 'doucheb*g' or 'freak' [or some other pejorative], no less than four times in your initial post.


      • 5 Years Ago
      I was in the market for a car during C4C but didn't owned a qualifying trade-in. My experience was that dealers were distracted by the program, raised prices, and suffered the extra logistics. Communication was poor until after the program. When I finally convinced a few that I was a cash customer they realized that was much better than the risks of the C4C and dealt with me more agressively. I believe C4C cost me as a customer and will cost me as a taxpayer. Thanks for nothing.
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