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Old 06-28-2009, 08:58 PM   #1
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Five Reasons "Cash For Clunkers" is A Joke

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With news that Congress has passed its ballyhooed $1 billion “Cash for Clunkers” bill, we feel compelled to voice our skepticism about the program. Here’s the bill in a nutshell: Buyers of new vehicles between July 1 and November 1 will be given a voucher for $3500 if they forfeit a post-1984 car or truck that has been registered for at least one year and has a combined fuel economy rating at least 4 mpg lower than their new vehicle. The voucher grows to $4500 if the increase in fuel economy is 10 mpg or higher. The old car or truck is then crushed and recycled.



Here are five reasons we don’t think this program is worth the time it took to draft it, let alone a billion dollars:



1. The voucher replaces the trade-in deal you might otherwise get from the dealership; it’s not in addition to the car’s private sale or trade-in value. In other words, if you’re trading in a car that’s worth $3000, your net gain is only $500. Although if your car is worth $100, CFC couldn’t come at a better time.



2. We’re not sure how many folks driving cars worth $3500 or less are in the market for a new car in the first place. Sure, there’s the occasional fresh-out-of-college new-hire (we’re not sure who’s hiring right now, but we’ll play make-believe) that might still be ready to move from a Dodge Omni to a shiny new Honda Insight, but people driving cheap old beaters are probably doing so because they can’t afford a new car. And $3500 doesn’t go far when the average transaction price of new cars hovers around $24K. The vouchers don’t apply toward the purchase of used cars, for which the majority of old beaters are traded in.



3. People driving large, gas-gulping old cars and trucks often do so because they need the utility those vehicles provide. Old station wagons, for example, have few modern counterparts that are as versatile while achieving better fuel economy. Ditto pickups, which have gotten bigger and more capable but not much more fuel-efficient. And if the government thinks that someone is going to step out of a 1994 Dodge Ram into a Honda Fit, they need to get out of D.C. a little more often.



4. Naturally, we have some reservations about any bill designed to facilitate wiping out—we’re sorry, recycling—any automotive species. And let’s face it, while there are a lot of bona fide clunkers out there, we’re afraid that a bunch of future classics will get caught in this roundup. Read this to include Wranglers and Cherokees. We propose, then, that a certified auto enthusiast (paid, of course) be placed at all certified CFC dealerships to screen the cars that are brought in, returning the cool cars—including anything with T-tops—to the streets.



5. Besides cleansing the U.S. of gas-guzzling pigs, the other supposed benefit of the CFC program is to provide a short-term boost to the starving auto business. However, we hope these legislators don’t expect it to meaningfully help the domestic automakers. Many of the automobiles with fuel-economy ratings high enough to qualify for the vouchers come from Japan and Korea.



On the bright side, the cost to taxpayers will be minimal when no one actually participates.
Your thoughts?

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Old 06-28-2009, 09:21 PM   #2
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i agree with all that.

and i just thought of this, along the lines of people driving the qualifying clunkers not being able to afford new cars, this is just promoting more debt in our society. these people will be enticed to trade in a 500 dollar car (getting 4500 for it) for a new one, obviously going in to debt. thats what our society needs, more loans and debt to unqualifying people.

and yes, the deal is the clunker has to be crushed, valuable vehicles will be lost.

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Old 06-29-2009, 05:46 AM   #3
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I agree. Anything with T-Tops should be saved
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Old 06-29-2009, 10:43 AM   #4
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I'm not sure point number 4 is all that valid. The car sites are going nuts over the idea that great cars will be crushed. But that's only true if they're worth less than $3500. And very few collectible cars are.

A few beat up 89-90 Wranglers and Cherokees might get smooshed. But they do now if no one buys them - we already recycle a LOT of cars in this country.

But I agree with most of the rest!
This program is designed for:
1. People with a car worth way less than $3500, and:
2. In the market for a brand new car.

That can't be that many people, can it? I've been there, and a newer used car almost always is the smarter choice.
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Old 06-29-2009, 11:54 AM   #5
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i'd rather see those 87-90 wranglers, and beat up xj's get cleaned for parts than crushed though.
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Old 06-29-2009, 09:02 PM   #6
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I drive piece of shit cars not because I cant afford a new one, but because I work mostly in NYC. There is no protecting your car there. It is going to get backed-up into, scratched, and dented. And thats in a good area! I'm also not the type of person who has to always have the latest and greatest. Cars to me are just to get to where I have to go. My jeep is for leisure and a hobby.

As far as the trade in goes, couldn't you buy a $100 shitbox, trade it in to the govt and then trade your original car in to the dealership?

Also noone is stupid enough to trade a "classic" to be scrapped. Sorry your berlinetta camaro with T-Tops is not a classic (not sure if they even came with T-Tops). I doubt you'll see a line of GNs going in for this.

I see some merit with this program, but I dont see myself buying a new car in the next decade (unless that 1million I inherited from Nigeria ever comes )
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Old 06-29-2009, 09:05 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by wrusty wrangler View Post
As far as the trade in goes, couldn't you buy a $100 shitbox, trade it in to the govt and then trade your original car in to the dealership?
they did avoid that, your clunker has to have been registered for a year and driven, and the program ends before someone can buy a clunker, and have it registered long enough to qualify.

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