Monday, November 02, 2009

Cash for Clunkers

The Cash for Clunkers program is old news now. Some consider it a success but I'm not sold. I was never really a fan of it. Actually, my first thought when I heard about it was "But I already own a clunker. Why should my tax money buy more?"

I don't like that so many semi-decent cars were pulled off the road and destroyed. As someone that refuses to finance a car, I like the cash car. A lot of those inexpensive cars are no longer on the road. No, they weren't going to win beauty contests. No, they may not have gotten great mileage. But they worked, they were affordable, and, if purchased right, were interest-free.

There are also a lot of people that don't have any kind of transportation. A so-called clunker may have been very much appreciated. They could really have used a low priced Ford Explorer to safely carry their kids, commute to work, or even start their own business. Now that Ford Explorer has been destroyed. Was it green? No. But sometimes dirty brown is better than clean green.

While I can't blame people for taking advantage of the program, I hate to think about how many car loans were issued during the program. Did we not learn we couldn't loan/borrow our way out of the economic mess? From what I've read, I'm not the only one expressing remorse about the program. According to this article, the levels of buyer remorse for those using Cash 4 Clunkers is about twice the normal rate. Yikes!

Here's what really hurts me. The other day I heard about the actual cars that were turned in. Overwhelmingly, the list includes the expected SUVs, trucks, etc. But that's not all. AutoBlog offers a staggering lists of other vehicles. Here are a few that, when I read about them, made me feel like I'd been kicked in the stomach:

373 Mazda RX-7s
327 Toyota Supras
6 Porsche 928s
61 Pontiac Fieros -- based upon the mpg requires, I'm guessing these were the GT model
A GMC Typhoon
A 1989 20th Anniversary Pontiac Trans Am
A 1987 Buick Grand National


I previously said I couldn't blame people for taking advantage of the program. I was wrong. I blame the person that traded that Buick. I blame the person that traded that TA. What were they thinking? That's wrong. So very wrong. I wonder if they traded these in for Ford Focuses? I wonder if they realize that, with immediate depreciation, their new car may now be worth less than what they traded in (even in crummy, but running condition). And that without considered the sheer awesomeness they gave up. Ugg.

Breathe, Brett. Breathe. I need to look at a Grand National. Here's one from Auburn a couple years back.

1 comment:

NerdGirl said...

I'm sorry you are having car pain at all the sweet rides that were turned in! I really liked your post. I wonder how many of the people that bought cars couldn't really afford to get them but didn't want to miss out because it was "such as good deal."