• Mar 10, 2010
In what might turn out to be one of the biggest games of "he said, she said," in the history of the world, Maritz Research, an automotive market research company, is claiming that the government's Cash for Clunkers program actually boosted auto sales by much more than previously thought. Maritz is crediting the program with 765,000 new vehicle sales, higher than the 677,000 claimed by the government, and much, much higher than the 125,000 sales that Edmunds.com famously quoted. In fact, it's more than double the Department of Transportation's own estimate of 346,000 sales.

Maritz surveyed 36,000 new car and truck buyers who bought their vehicles during the time Cash for Clunkers was in effect, between July and August of 2009. The company figures a full 542,000 sales came from people who hadn't planned on buying a car otherwise, spurred by the government program. Maritz also includes 223,000 people who came to dealerships after hearing of the program, and even after they discovered that they didn't qualify, bought anyway.

Perhaps even more interesting were the findings on how the program affected future sales. It was believed by many that Cash for Clunkers might have just sped up sales in the short term, advancing sales that would have naturally occurred in future months or years. "The results provide strong empirical evidence that CARS did not impede future sales," said Maritz vice-president David Fish, "Vehicles were sold to people who don't normally buy them."

According to Maritz's findings, Cash for Clunkers buyers tended to be long-term car owners. Maritz says that nearly 80 percent of trade-ins had more than 100,000 miles on them and that 50 percent were more than 10 years old. Better than 60 percent of buyers told the pollsters that they plan on keeping their new cars as long as possible, meaning that many of the people who took advantage of the program came from non-regular customer pools.

The Maritz report could be used to support additional incentive programs like Cash for Clunkers in the future, but there are already detractors. For its part, Edmunds.com is already saying that there is a big difference between the analysis of sales figures it performed in its own study and Maritz's conducting of a survey that could contain flawed or leading questions. The issue is certainly not settled yet.

[Source: CNN Money | Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty]


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  • 48 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      My property taxes on my 2003 f150 went up because clunkers taken out of circulation raised my trucks value. The county government gave me this excuse, I didn't come up with it on my own to make an inane point.
      • 4 Years Ago
      My problem with C4C is that it was taxpayer money spent on mostly non American cars. It should have been limited to cars assembeled in the USA. As far as that goes, I want us to stop borrowing money from China to give away to other countries. If we have it or it's donated OK. But we borrow money from China, give it away as aid and our grandchildren pay the bill. That is just wrong.
      • 4 Years Ago
      My bro in law bought 2 cars under the clunkers program. He makes over $200k per year....He and my sister thank you suckers.
      • 4 Years Ago
      btw here's the link of three credit report http://www.ezcreditrepairsolutions.com/credit-report-score/ and a free credit repair http://www.ezcreditrepairsolutions.com/
      • 4 Years Ago
      I do not know how anyone who has put some thought into how this program affects everyone can see this as a success. Contrary to what they tell you on TV, it has made things worse!

      If you think this is a success, do you think there should be a program that gives people money for demolishing their house so that they can build a new "energy efficient" house in its place? They can say it "creates jobs" and "boosts the construction industry".. Do you think the artificially created jobs will magically last forever? I don't think so.

      It's like our country is taking a hard drug over and over and over again thinking the drug is making them feel good and that everything will always be okay. But reality will strike inevitably.



      • 4 Years Ago
      How many vehicles bought under the program have since been repossessed? If my math is correct, $4500 off of a $20,000 car still results in a car payment ($300ish??) where there was probably not one before on the "clunker"
        • 4 Years Ago
        Considering how tight credit has been, I imagine that a relatively high percentage of loans were made to people who could actually make the payments.

        The situation is a lot different than it was before the crash when banks were writing loans without even verifying income statements.
        • 4 Years Ago
        That's a really good point. Hadn't thought about that. I'd like to see those stats.
      • 4 Years Ago
      big deal. so people bought a whole bunch of cars in one shot, instead of buying over several months. the same number of cars would have been sold regardless. it's like a snow day at a supermarket...people rush and get their shopping done, and then the rest of the week after the storm the stores are empty.
        • 4 Years Ago
        >>so people bought a whole bunch of cars in one shot, instead of buying over several months. the same number of cars would have been sold regardless

        "Perhaps even more interesting were the findings on how the program affected future sales. It was believed by many that Cash for Clunkers might have just sped up sales in the short term, advancing sales that would have naturally occurred in future months or years. "The results provide strong empirical evidence that CARS did not impede future sales," said Maritz vice-president David Fish, "Vehicles were sold to people who don't normally buy them."


        I like how you came here to bring up your prejudice without even trying to read the article. If you're going to say you've read it then you need better reading comprehension skill.

      Jim
      • 4 Years Ago
      CFC will create jobs...Start training to be a repo man
      Kaye
      • 4 Years Ago
      People complain about their finances, not having money, losing their jobs, etc, and then when offered the cash for clunkers, they run out and buy a new vehicle they probably cannot afford. I just hope they all remember to file that cash they received on their Tax Filing. Probably not something they might have thought about prior to buying the car was that they would have to claim that cash as income.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Exactly. Sales figures of that period don't tell the whole story. You have to include surrounding data. And ignoring the demographics of those who bought the vehicles is to take a very blinkered view.
      Kaye
      • 4 Years Ago
      People complain about their finances, not having money, losing their jobs, etc, and then when offered the cash for clunkers, they run out and buy a new vehicle they probably cannot afford. I just hope they all remember to file that cash they received on their Tax Filing. Probably not something they might have thought about prior to buying the car was that they would have to claim that cash as income.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is the same problem as the 2000 election's "hanging chads" or even the current Administration's "jobs saved or created" (re: '09 stimulus):

      You can not divine intent.

      The people who purport to do so - regardless of the statistics (damn statistics!) - are not to be taken seriously, let alone trusted.


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