Cash-For-Clunker Data Changes as Program Continues

By Brendan Moore


cars-program-logo1In this, the fourth week since it was officially kicked off, Toyota has passed GM as the automaker selling the most vehicles through the Cash for Clunkers program.

Toyota has now sold 18.9% of the vehicles retailed through cash for clunkers, followed by GM at 17.6%.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the top five vehicles sold through the program are, in descending order:

1) Toyota Corolla
2) Honda Civic
3) Ford Focus
4) Toyota Camry
5) Toyota Prius

However, the DOT performs segmentation of models by different versions of the same car, unlike other tallying methods.

Computing sales by model, as the auto industry does, produces these top five results:

1) Ford Escape
2) Ford Focus
3) Honda Civic
4) Jeep Patriot
5) Toyota Corolla

The DOT sales data (as of last Friday, the 14th) follows:

Top 10 new vehicles purchased through program:

1) Toyota Corolla
2) Honda Civic
3) Ford Focus fwd
4) Toyota Camry
5) Toyota Prius
6) Hyundai Elantra
7) Ford Escape fwd
8) Honda Fit
9) Nissan Versa
10) Honda CR-V 4WD

Top 5 states participating by voucher dollar (USD) volume so far:

1) California $152.4 million
2) Texas $91.1 million
3) Michigan $80.6 million
4) New York $77 million
5) Ohio $76.3 million

Purchases by top 5 makes only:

1) Toyota 18.9 percent
2) GM 17.6 percent
3) Ford 15.4 percent
4) Honda Motor Co. 12.9 percent
5) Chrysler 9.1 percent

Top 10 trade-in vehicles:

1) Ford Explorer 4wd
2) Ford F-150 2wd
3) Jeep Grand Cherokee 4wd
4) Jeep Cherokee 4wd
5) Ford Explorer 2wd
6) Dodge Caravan / Grand Caravan 2wd
7) Chevrolet Blazer 4wd
8) Ford F-150 4wd
9) Chevrolet C1500 2wd
10) Ford Windstar fwd

We don’t have the data sorted yet that will provide trade-in numbers by model-only as opposed to versions of the model, like the DOT is doing. The list sorted by model instead of versions of the same model will produce different results, obviously, with a great example of that obvious in the DOT list above.

Clearly, the Ford F-150 2WD and the Ford F-150 4WD results together will probably put the always hot-selling F-150 at the No. 1 spot on the trade-in list.

The average mpg rating of the vehicles purchased through the program so far is an even 25 mpg. The average mpg rating of the vehicles traded in through the program so far is 15.8 mpg.

As the program barrels on, the sales contest may become a battle of attrition, with some dealers reporting shortages of the models selling in big volumes, and the manufacturers doing their best to get more of those models to their dealers as soon as possible. The active paradox at work here for the manufacturers is that if they increase production of the hot sellers, and, are not able to get that production in front of the customers until the end of the cash for clunkers program, those cars could then sit on dealers’ lots for a long time.

As we reported before, Ford may have the upper hand in such a contest, since they had already decided to increase production of their fuel-efficient models like the Focus, and, that happened before cash for clunkers showed up on the horizon. So, their pipeline of cars in transit may be a bit fuller than other manufacturers’.

COPYRIGHT Autosavant – All Rights Reserved

Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at

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  1. I’m surprised Nissan didn’t beat Chrysler out in the top five makes.

    And look at California! WOW! Sor far ahead of the others, the local and state governments have to like that action for the sales tax income.

    Ford F-150 the top one if all the versions are counted? Maybe, maybe not. Count the Ford Explorer versions together, the Chevrolet C1500 versions together, the Jeeps, etc.

  2. Yeah, I think Chrysler going to have a tough time re-supplying their dealers in time.

    I am surprised that CA is far ahead of TX since TX is huge and has got to have a lot of clunker eligible trucks and suv’s. Right? There must be a lot of trade-in material in the state, more than CA, and TX has more people than CA, regardless, so it’s really surprising to me that there would be such a big difference in the numbers.

  3. Bigfinish:

    TX has more people than CA???

    At least one former Lincoln-Mercury dealer I have spoken with (who still operates used car lots) claims that the program neither has nor will boost either long term demand or production.

  4. Top 5 States by Population – 2008 Estimates from U.S. Census Bureau 

    CA   36.7 Million 

    TX    24.3 Million 

    NY    19.5 Million 

    FL    18.3 Million 

    IL     12.9 Million 

    Texas is bigger in sq miles than CA, but not really close in population. But, I will give bigfinish that Texas should have plenty of trade-in material since the whole state has big trucks everywhere. 

    (Put this response under the wrong post before)

  5. That two of the best selling viehicles of all time, the Explorer and the F-150, should top the trade in lists should suppise no one.

    On the other hand, the fact that there are enough roadworthy Windstars still arround to make the list is actually pretty surprising.

  6. If those state population figures from the census bureau are right, then Michigan counts for more cash-for-clunker sales than their population would seem to support.

    The same goes for Ohio.

    Ford must be very happy about the Escape sales.

  7. I have to ask, where’s Mini Cooper? I know at lest one F-150 that was turned in for one (mine).

  8. TRLennon:

    Used cars are not included in the CFC program

  9. Wonder what the top 5 will look like at the end. I think it might well depend on supply.

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