The AP has the final tally on the cash for clunkers sales numbers, and it looks good for Japanese automakers.
The Department of Transportation says 690,114 cars were sold, and only $2.88 billion, of the possible $3 billion total budget was spent.
Of those cars sold, Toyota, Nissan and Honda accounted for 41% of the sales, while GM, Ford (F) and Chrysler only accounted for 39% of sales.
We suppose some people will be outraged by the fact that Japanese automakers did better than U.S. automakers, but that’s silly. Remember Toyota is America’s car company, as we wrote in July:
According to the new survey, the most American car in America is the Toyota Camry, containing the highest percentage of American inputs, even surpassing the Ford F-150. Actually, Toyota utterly dominates the top 10 list, with a Honda thrown in for good measure.
Now some might object to this, saying that even though these cars are “made-in-America”, the value still flows overseas, but really, even that’s not right. Toyota still pays taxes in America. Its stock is traded in the US, and is no doubt owned by individual retail accounts and mutual funds.
If you insist on coming up with some definition of “American” that limits that moniker to the Big Three, we suppose it’s this: Only Chrysler, Ford and GM have the political clout to win a bailout if needed. We really can’t imagine Toyota or Honda receiving so much political support. Of course, this is a circular definition that still doesn’t say much, but it’s the best you can do.
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