Why Cash for Clunkers Could Devastate Auto Sales
Cash for Clunkers is over.
More than 625,000 vehicles were sold as a result of the program, so I can’t imagine anyone who wanted to take the government up on its $4,500 offer missed out. Needless to say, the Cash for Clunkers program was hugely successful at luring people into dealerships to buy new cars.
But without the program, what happens next? Who will buy new cars now?
Well, guess what – I have a prediction: Auto sales will languish once again, and dealers will have one heck of a hard winter trying to sell enough cars to keep their heat on. The recovery of the auto industry will probably take even longer than it would have had the government just kept their hands off.
I don’t think Cash for Clunkers actually increased auto sales, I think it condensed auto sales into a single month. Which means the next few months are going to hurt for dealers and auto manufacturers.
Americans just binged on buying cars. The binge made us feel good. It gave us a sugar high of sorts that quickly spread across the country, resulting in even more binging. Now comes the big crash.
The fact that Ford, GM, and Chrysler all increased production of fuel-efficient vehicles made popular by Cash for Clunkers, combined with no more government assistance for consumers, means we’ll soon see an overstock of cars on dealers’ lots with no one to buy them.
Somehow dealers are going to have to lure people into their stores without powerful rebates, and we’ll be right back where we started.
Was Cash for Clunkers worth it?