Toyota Leads in Cash for Clunkers Company Makes Three of Five Top Cars in Program By Peter Whoriskey Washington Post Staff Writer Saturday, August 15, 2009 The biggest single beneficiary of the $3 billion “Cash for Clunkers” government program so far is the Japanese automaker Toyota, according to federal figures released Friday. Three of the five most popular vehicles purchased under the program are Toyota models: the Corolla (No. 1), the Camry (4) and the Prius (5). Controversy over the program has focused in part on how much of the U.S. tax money will go toward stimulating business for foreign automakers. . . . “To avoid any kind of complications with the World Trade Organization, we made adjustments that allowed our companies to robustly compete, and they are, as the new figures show,” (Rep.) Sutton said Friday. “The majority of cars being purchased are being built in the United States. This is an unmitigated success.”
Irony #2: A friend of mine drives a 20-year-old Volvo station wagon that’s got 300,000 miles on it and is rusting out. Big, clunky old foreign car that ought to qualify. Right? Wrong, the car continues to get 24 mpg and has for the full twenty years that America’s car-makers were unable (according to them) to deliver mileage, utility and style. Maybe there’s a clue there as to why Detroit went bust. Irony #3: “It’s quite a revelation to see consumers moving in droves from trucks to high-efficiency cars — it’s just not something the auto industry has led us to believe is possible,” said Therese Langer, transportation director at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. Possibly this is a revelation to Therese, although one would have to question how on earth she qualified for the job. Led to believe, were you Terry? Irony #4: The program is now substituting’made in America‘ for ‘saving American auto-makers.‘ Wages stay here, profits go to Japan or Korea. Detroit still staggers. Hey, it’s the best we could do.