‘Clunkers’ drives 690,000 new car sales

Wednesday, August 26, 2009, 1:22pm EDT

The so-called “Cash for Clunkers” program has come to an end, with more than 690,000 clunkers traded in and $2.88 billion in rebate applications submitted by the deadline, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Congress approved $3 billion to run the program.

Eighty-four percent of consumers traded in trucks and 59 percent purchased passenger cars. The average fuel economy of the vehicles traded in was 15.8 mpg and the average fuel economy of vehicles purchased is 24.9 mpg – a 58 percent improvement, according to the DOT.

Cars made in America topped the most-purchased list, from the Ford Focus to the Toyota Corolla to the Honda Civic.

“American consumers and workers were the clear winners thanks to the cash for clunkers program,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Manufacturing plants have added shifts and recalled workers. Moribund showrooms were brought back to life and consumers bought fuel efficient cars that will save them money and improve the environment.”

LaHood said the program is expected to boost economic growth in the third quarter of 2009 by 0.3 to 0.4 percentage points at an annual rate because of increased auto sales in July and August. The program will also sustain the increase in gross domestic product in the fourth quarter because of increased auto production to replace depleted inventories, and create or save 42,000 jobs in the second half of 2009.

Ford and General Motors recently announced production increases for both the third and fourth quarters as a result of the demand generated by the program. Honda also said it will be increasing production at its U.S. plants in East Liberty and Marysville, Ohio and in Lincoln, Ala.

According to the DOT, the CARS (Car Allowance Rebate System) program resulted in the sales of 690,114 new cars sold. The top 10 vehicles purchased were:

  1. Toyota Corolla
  2. Honda Civic
  3. Toyota Camry
  4. Ford Focus FWD
  5. Hyundai Elantra
  6. Nissan Versa
  7. Toyota Prius
  8. Honda Accord
  9. Honda Fit
  10. Ford Escape FWD

The top 10 trade-ins were:

  1. Ford Explorer 4WD
  2. Ford F150 Pickup 2WD
  3. Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD
  4. Ford Explorer 2WD
  5. Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan 2WD
  6. Jeep Cherokee 4WD
  7. Chevrolet Blazer 4WD
  8. Chevrolet C1500 Pickup 2WD
  9. Ford F150 Pickup 4WD
  10. Ford Windstar FWD Van

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