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2009 Hyundai Genesis 4.6L V8 – Click above for high-res image gallery

2009 has been a sales disaster for the automotive world, as industry figures have dropped to the lowest levels in three decades. Cash for Clunkers has been a boon for the otherwise poor year, though, as hundreds of thousands of Americans have traded in their old cars for new, more fuel efficient metal.

Cash for Clunkers has helped automakers sell more cars while also clearing out some excess inventory on dealer lots. But the sales boost of C4C is only expected to last so long, as many analysts expect the program to run its entire budget by Labor Day. Does that mean the months ahead will revert to the putrid car sales of the first six months of the year? J.D. Power doesn't seem to think so.

Anybody who has watched more than 30 minutes of television the past couple weeks has likely seen Ford's new ads claiming that the automaker has caught up to Toyota and Honda with regards to initial quality. Toyota certainly has, and it apparently doesn't like the Blue Oval's boastful tone. On Toyota's Open Road blog, Mike Michels seems taken aback at the claim, stating that the initial quality survey Ford cites was commissioned by the automaker and performed by a third-party company not affiliat

Ford's quality record at the beginning of this decade was so bad, the automaker was spending billions on warranty repairs, while simultaneously turning off potential buyers in droves. The blue oval has been righting the ship for the past couple of years, with vehicles like the Fusion and Taurus leading a quality renaissance that has the automaker nipping at the heels of its Japanese competition. That quality improvement has been cutting losses, with $900 million in savings achieved in 2007, and