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There's no arguing that the various Cash for Clunkers-style programs all around the world are intended first and foremost to spur lagging automobile sales. Environmental concerns have taken a back seat to helping automakers and dealerships move some more metal. Still, at least we know that the barely-running pollution-spewing machines are headed to the great junkyard in the sky, right?

Germany recently began a scrapping incentive program that gives buyers €2,500 to get rid of their old cars and buy new ones. The plan helped create a 21% jump in car sales during the month of February, even though the plan didn't take effect until February 20. It was the kind of success that has both the UK and the U.S. mulling over such a program, and has Germany considering doubling the incentive plan by adding another €1.5 billion of government money.

Countries looking to shore up their lagging auto sales now have a shining example to follow in Germany, Europe's largest market for new car sales. In February, sales rose by 21%, which is an astounding figure when you look at the results for the same period in other countries, including the United States, as the weak global economy puts a stranglehold on consumer pocketbooks.