Now that the Cash for Clunkers program is the law of the land, www.cars.com has posted detailed information for consumers who may be interested in taking advantage of the program. Editor in Chief Patrick Olsen said. “We’ve outlined the rules and regulations and provided a number of scenarios to help shoppers through the process.” The site includes a Vehicle Recommender, where consumers can see what new models might meet their needs. Meanwhile, the New York Times compared the program to European versions.
The Vehicle Recommender offers “expert and consumer reviews, and new-car inventory search to find the right car and a dealer who has it.” It lists energy efficiency by class ratings and other facts.
Olsen described the types of scenarios the website gets into. “Say your 1999 Ford Crown Victoria gets a combined 18 mpg,” he said. “You have your eye on a new 2009 Ford Taurus, but it only gets 21 mpg, according to EPA ratings. You aren’t eligible for a credit, because if you’re buying a new car (not SUV, truck or minivan), it must get at least 22 mpg. However, if you opt for the 2010 Ford Fusion with a four-cylinder engine instead, yu’ll get a combined 25 mpg and a $3,500 credit. If you want a $4,500 credit but want to stick with Ford, you could get a manual 2009 Ford Focus (28 mpg combined) or a 2009 Ford Escape (24 mpg) or Escape Hybrid with either four-wheel drive (28 mpg) or front-wheel drive (32 mpg).”
According to NYT, these types of scenarios make the American version of Clunkers much clunkier than similar efforts in Europe. In Germany, for example, if the clunker is nine years or older, it’s eligible, no further questions asked.
The German effort is not only better funded, its original deadline was extended and funding levels replenished.
The American version has $1B to spend until 11/1/09 or funding is exhausted, whichever comes first, enough for about 250K transactions. The German program started with funding for 600K transactions, which was more than tripled up to 2M. And of course Germany is dealing with a much smaller population, magnifying the impact that dwarfs the American effort straight-up anyway.
RBR/TVBR observation: The cars.com material is a tip sheet for every broadcaster in the United States. Find out what consumers are being told to look for, go to the person selling it in your area and make them a client. And they will probably be ready to talk – dealers know this is happening.