edmunds.com be damned....
edmunds.com be damned....
This assumes the clunkers wouldn't eventually be replaced naturally which they would which makes the payback much worse. Chances are pretty good that cars that need to be replaced would be replaced in a reasonably short time frame.
Complete waste of taxpayer money. People replace cars all the time and if they don't they maintain them and use their money elswhere. You also can't discount that new cars were subsidized at the expense of something else.
There is no definitive and absolute way to determine natural replacement. My point was simple, that it's disingenuous at best to compare total government cost vs one year of oil savings only.
I would argue that the generation of sales tax and registration revenue alone would bring us close to a "break even" point without even taking oil prices into account. Of course, natural replacement would generate this tax and registration revenue as well, but who knows how far down the road.
Free Money for Clunkers (paid for by taxpayers) certainly helped the Auto Industry, albeit in a very short-term revenue way, and even that was offset to some degree by additional administrative costs and collection/reimbursement problems.
But what helped the U.S. Auto Industry most of late was the big hyped up media-driven scare over Toyota's phantom acceleration problems. No other factor bolstered Ford and Government Motors more than the damage done to Toyota and driven by the media over this huge "problem" that no one ever seemed to be able to prove actually happened or why.
Perception is everything, and Ford and GM rode the media-perception-attacks on Toyota right to the bank.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The number one cause of unintended acceleration isn't problem cars, it's problem drivers.
In the case of Toyota vehicles supposedly speeding out of control, scientists who spent nearly a year investigating the issue say most incidents were caused by drivers confusing the gas and brake pedals. While making that mistake seems unimaginable, experts say it can actually happen fairly easily.
"It happens all the time because people panic and once the brain is in a panic mode, it stops thinking and your instincts take over," said Miriam Schottland, a driving instructor who specializes in high performance and evasive driving "and your instincts can tell you to do the wrong thing.
She's seen it happen to experienced professional drivers in training situations, she said. Even they can fail to quickly figure out what's happening and correct it.
Safeguards in place
With all the recent attention focused on Toyota's troubles it may seem like sudden acceleration is a new problem, but it isn't. Following a rash of unintended acceleration reports about Audi cars in the 1980s, safety features were adopted by most automakers to make the problem less likely.
First, Audi invented what is known as the "shift interlock" that's now a universal feature on new cars. It requires drivers to step on the brake pedal before shifting out of park. This at least prevents drivers from starting the car while it's in gear, once a common cause of unintended take-offs.
Also, whereas gas and brake pedals in cars were often at the same height, the brake pedal in most cars is now higher up to make it easier to differentiate from the gas.
Those things helped but, apparently, didn't completely eliminate the problem, as the rash of complaints about Toyota's has shown.
In their final report on unintended acceleration in Toyotas, NASA engineers who helped study the Toyota acceleration problem, pointed out various factors that make pedal mix-ups more likely to occur and harder to recover from, not just in Toyotas, but in most modern cars.
For one, today's cars are quieter. It's often difficult to hear the engine running even when the car's being driven. While that makes the car a more pleasant place to be, it can also delay, by a few critical moments, the time it takes a driver to realize the engine is revving up.
Also, car controls, including pedals can vary from one vehicle to the next. Since a lot of driving depends on muscle memory, operating an unfamiliar car can become complicated.
More uniformity in controls might help, said David Champion, head of auto testing for Consumer Reports.
The positions of the gas and brake pedals can vary from car to car, making it easy for an unfamiliar driver to put a foot in the wrong place. Also, the new driver might not recognize the feel of the brake compared to the gas pedal.
"Looking at cars that have been involved in unintended acceleration, it was often not the normal user driving the car when it happened," he said. "It was a valet parker or somebody at a car wash, or a husband or wife.'"
The common advice to drivers in out-of-control emergencies is to shift into neutral but that's hard in some cars, especially since we're not called upon to do it very often.
Creatively designed hi-tech gear selectors are a danger point, said Champion, particularly the fancy electronic toggles used in some luxury and hybrid cars. They can make selecting drive modes something of a puzzle, especially the rarely used neutral position.
Many automatic transmissions today are manually shiftable, allowing the driver can choose to shift gears instead of letting the car do it on its own. Most drivers rarely do this.
In a moment of panic, NASA said, these complex gear selectors can become a maze.
Panicked drivers can accidentally slam the gear selector sideways into the "manual shift" area. From there, they can't easily get to Neutral, the report said.
It would be better if the gear selector at least had to be pushed to the right, away from the driver, instead of towards him, to get into manual shift mode, said Champion. A quick, sweeping grab at the shifter is less likely to knock it into the manual shift option.
Push button start, an increasingly popular feature on many models, can also cause problems because it doesn't work in a consistent way across all cars.
In Toyota cars, the button had to be held down for three seconds in order to turn off the engine while the car is driving. A frightened driver is more likely to stab at the button repeatedly, which will do nothing unless the car the car is parked. Toyota has already announced that it is changing the way the button operates.
There is one step that could be taken that would stop most cases of unintended acceleration, Champion said.
"The one thing we could do would be to ban automatic transmissions altogether and sell only manuals," joked Champion.
Last edited by Warfish; 02-11-2011 at 11:28 AM.
If pre, makes perfect sense, Toyota/Honda/Nissan were considered better, safer vehicles.
If post, harder to explain, although not really....brand loyalty was still strong in general for Honda and Nissan, and while weakened for Toyota, they were still well up there.
Long term though, the damage done by the acceleration hype has done considerable PR damage to Toyota, and helped GM in their quest from the ashes. It will be interesting to see if that continues, or if Toyota, bolstered by the facts that their design was not at fault, rebounds strongly, or if GM continues to push ahead.
Stuck pedals and loose floormats. Issues that can (and do) happen to every automaker. No electronic/engineering fault. None.U.S. Finds No Electronic Defect in Toyota Throttles
By Jennifer Booton
Published February 08, 2011
A 10-month government investigation into unwanted acceleration in Toyota (TM) vehicles found no link between runaway vehicles and electronic throttles, a decision that bodes well for the recall-battered automaker, whose shares hit a 52-week high on the news.
Government investigators said Tuesday that the only known causes of the problems are mechanical defects that have been addressed by previous recalls, such as sticking accelerator pedals and loose floor mats. The Transportation Department study, which was assisted by NASA engineers, concluded there was no electronic cause of the acceleration.
According to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, engineers examined nine Toyotas driven by consumers who complained of the unwanted speeds, as well as 280,000 lines of software code to try and find any electronic flaws.
The unwanted acceleration led to the largest auto recall in history, and record fines paid to the U.S. government. Congress had requested the study in an effort to respond to consumer complaints blaming flawed electronics as the reason for the runaway vehicles.
Strait from the lips of our all-knowing Governemnt, and I KNOW you trust them Bit.
A hyped up story based on no evidence led to the greatest recall ever, and record fines paid to the Govt. right when the Government Motors needed a boost in the worst way. Thank God for convenience, eh?
Last edited by Warfish; 02-11-2011 at 11:59 AM.
Top 10 New Vehicles Purchased
1. Toyota Corolla (Japan)
2. Honda Civic (Japan)
3. Ford Focus FWD (U.S.)
4. Toyota Camry (Japan)
5. Hyundai Elantra (South Korea)
6. Toyota Prius (Japan)
7. Nissan Versa (Japan)
8. Ford Escape FWD (U.S.)
9. Honda Fit (Japan)
10. Honda CR-V 4WD (Japan)
The Cash for Clunkers program, which wrapped up Monday, was designed to help struggling Detroit car companies. But the biggest beneficiaries, according to the government, were foreign brands.
According to the Department of Transportation, as of Friday, 59 percent of vehicles bought with Clunkers cash were foreign. The top two sellers were the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic, both made by Japanese auto manufacturers. The only Detroit vehicles in the top 10 were the Ford Focus and Escape.
Foreign firms control the majority of the U.S. market, but they did even better than usual during the Clunkers program.
Karl Brauer, the editor of the car consumer Web site edmunds.com, says the reason is simple: The program favored gas economy, something Detroit is still working on.
American automakers "tend to make better trucks than fuel-efficient cars," Brauer says. "That's shifting, but right now the imports still definitely have the advantage there."
A set of problems would have been created had Congress tried to tilt the program in favor of Detroit auto manufacturers, he adds.
"Then we'd have gotten into all sorts of trade issues with the program and you'd have people yelling that it was slanted unfairly to benefit the domestic automakers," Brauer says.
That said, the program did help U.S. manufacturers. It cleared old inventory off dealer lots and helped encourage General Motors to bring back more than 1,300 workers to build more cars
It sucks that Toyota/Honda saw most of the profits form C4C BUT Toyota and Honda employ thousands of American workers to build those cars and the parts for those cars. Most of the cars on that list are not assembled in Japan.
American workers kept on working