Gimme a ‘C’, Gimme an ‘A’… - Tire Review Magazine

Gimme a ‘C’, Gimme an ‘A’…

Despitethe odd protests from some aftermarket groups, the Cash for Clunkersprogram has been a big success. At least according to the only groupthat really matters right now: car dealers and automakers.

Yes,the aftermarket side of the car equation is important. But not rightnow; never once has the automotive aftermarket been a major economicdriver for this country, not to the extent of auto manufacturing andsales. Right now it is more meaningful to get new cars off the lots andinto driveways. Repairs and replacements will come.

So how didPart 1 of C4C go? As of Aug. 3, NHTSA had processed 80,500 vouchers(because no one in the government can count quickly, it will be monthsbefore we know the final number).

83% of trade-ins were pickupsor SUVs, and 60% of the new vehicles purchased were cars, exploding themyth that Americans still wanted big vehicles.

The average fueleconomy of trade-ins was 15.8 mpg, but the new vehicles averaged 25.4mpg, an average improvement of almost 61%.

Most purchased new vehicle? Ford’s Focus.

Whilecar dealers were thrilled with the increased traffic and business,according to the American International Automobile Dealers AssociationJuly vehicle sales – domestics and imports – were still off 12.2%compared to July 2008…and we know how bad sales were last year. YTD2009 sales are down 32.1%.

Still, C4C activity has caused theAIADA to adjust its prediction for total U.S. consumer vehicle sales.The new seasonally adjusted sales rate jumped from 9 million unit saleslast month to 11.2 million in July.

The Senate is expected to add another $2 billion to the program this week. So far, it seems to be stimulus money well spent.

If you have comments to share, send to me at [email protected].

– Jim Smith

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