Did the government screw up on the auto rebate program?

Let’s prime the pump and offer $3,500 to $4,500 rebate incentives to anyone turning in a clunker for a newer, higher mileage automobile. This will be one effective way to stimulate the economy and “bring back the automotive industry in America”. One problem. Aside from the fact that the first billion dollar program may have just expired is the real question about the success of this program. Which auto manufacturer and country will benefit from these new auto sales?
Did we have strings attached stating that the new vehicle must be produced in Detroit by an American manufacturer?
Apparently the government is withholding data that might reveal that the cars of choice are Honda’s, Hyundai’s and Toyotas, rather than Chrysler, Ford or GM.

That in itself creates questions. We drive Toyota’s that were manufactured in Kentucky, home of their largest manufacturing facility in North America.

The parts in any vehicle come from several different countries. Each vehicle should have a domestic parts content label. Even the Big Three obtain some of their parts from Canada.
According to www.cars.com they report that “it’s hard to deny that among the most popular U.S.-built cars and trucks, the models with the highest domestic content ratings come from Detroit automakers. Of the 35 most popular U.S.-built 2008 and 2009 models — based on sales through May 31, 2008 — 43 percent of GM, Ford and Chrysler contenders had domestic content ratings of 75 percent or higher. In comparison, just 25 percent of the Nissan, Honda, Hyundai and Toyota models on the list achieved that.”

So the question remains. While the rebate program may take gas guzzlers off the roads, will Detroit get a boost from this latest bailout?

About Larry Gilbert