Car Sales Up as "Cash for Clunkers" Program Continues
August 4, 2009

Vehicle sales have surged in recent days in light of the new Cash for Clunkers stimulus program, and several car manufacturers have recorded sales increases for the month of July.

Ford, Lincoln and Mercury retail sales increased 9 percent over last July. This is the first year-over-year total sales gain Ford has recorded since November 2007. Fuel-efficient vehicles were the company's top sellers, including the Ford Fusion, up 66 percent; Mercury Milan, up 60 percent; Ford Escape sales increased by 94 percent; Mercury Mariner, 71 percent; Ford Focus, up 44 percent; and Ford Ranger was up 65 percent.

The company attributes much of this success for the month to its marketing of the Carl Allowance Rebate System (CARS) program, and its website, www.letfordrecycleyourride.com, in particular.

"We had another strong month in progress before the 'Cash for Clunkers' program started," says Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, U.S. marketing, sales and service.

"Our products, our dealers and our advance preparation enabled us to leverage the program and drive traffic and sales to another level," he adds. "In addition, we achieved a sales increase even though we decreased incentive spending in an increasingly competitive environment."

Chrysler sales were up 30 percent over June 2009, and five of the company's vehicles set monthly sales records during July. Jeep® Patriot sales were up 134 percent over July 2008; Dodge Caliber sales were up 63 percent over the previous year; Chrysler PT Cruiser sales were up 24 percent compared with July 2008; and Mopar® sales increased 9 percent over the previous month.

Chrysler also attributes the record-breaking sales to the government stimulus program, which allows consumers to trade in gas-guzzling vehicles for up to $4,5000 toward a more fuel-efficient vehicle.

"The government's program is doing what it is designed to do-spur consumers to trade in older gas guzzlers for new, fuel-efficient vehicles," says Peter Fong, president and chief executive officer-Chrysler brand and lead executive for the sales organization, Chrysler Group LLC. "While we don't expect the industry sales forecast to change dramatically, we are seeing encouraging signs that consumer confidence is building, and more consumers are considering purchasing a new vehicle."

On July 27, Chrysler restarted production at nine of its 11 manufacturing facilities.

And Chrysler and Ford aren't alone in the recent surge. Toyota reported yesterday that July vehicle sales hit a new monthly high for the year and jumped 27.7 percent compared to June 2009.

"Beyond the tangible economic stimulus, the positive environmental benefits of the CARS program is clear to see," says Toyota president Jim Lentz. "The program is achieving its goal of increasing fuel efficiency. CARS-related Toyota sales, over the seven days alone, will save customers an estimated 8 million gallons of gas and 20 million dollars in gas spending over the next year."

Sales, however, for the company were still down from last July-by 10.8 percent for the Toyota division and 16.5 percent for the Lexus division.

As of the end of the day yesterday (4 p.m. EST), 20,495 dealers across the United States had been approved for registration in the CARS program, and 133,767 transactions had been submitted for a total of $563.8 million.

CLICK HERE for more information on the CARS program.

Click on the following links for more on the program.

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