Cash for Clunkers Sold More Cars Than Previously Thought

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The Cash for Clunkers program sold far more cars than even the government thought at first, according to an analysis conducted by the automotive market research company Maritz Research.

Martiz says Clunkers was responsible for 765,000 new vehicles sold. Some skeptics of the program said it simply robbed car sales from future months, but Maritz maintains that this prediction has not materialized and the cars sold never would have left dealer lots without the program.

This goes well beyond previous estimates: The Department of Transportation said the program was responsible for 346,000 vehicles that otherwise wouldn’t have been sold, while put the number at 125,000.

About 542,000 of the 677,000 vehicles sold under the program were purchased by people who hadn’t planned on buying a new car. An additional 223,000 people who went to dealerships to check out the incentive bought a car even after finding out they didn’t qualify.

Martiz arrived at these figures based on a survey of 36,000 people who bought a new car or truck between July and August 2009, when Cash for Clunkers was under way. The survey points to data that showed nearly 80% of Clunkers customers were long-term car owners trading in vehicles with more than 100,000 miles on them, and half of the trade-ins were more than 10 years old.

In other words, these were people lured strictly by the well-publicized incentive and not those looking for the typical summer cash-back rebate from the automaker.

Cash for Clunkers: Better Than We Thought (CNNMoney)

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