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Auto Workers Union Says "Cash for Clunkers" Was Success

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The Obama administration’s “cash for clunkers” program, which expired yesterday, was a smashing success. It delivered important benefits to the environment and the U.S. economy, the UAW says. And one highly respected analyst reports the program spawned record car sales.

UAW President Ron Gettelfinger pointed out that consumers responded enthusiastically to the program, which explains why it ran its course faster than anyone expected. He says:

In just a few weeks, Americans have traded in hundreds of thousands of older vehicles for new, higher-mileage models.

The result is higher fuel economy, lower carbon emissions—and an increase in production and employment that means increased opportunity for American workers and American companies.

Research by, an online automotive information service, backs up Gettelfinger’s assertion. Edmunds released an initial analysis about the program’s results earlier this month. Based on their research, 39 percent of new car sales involved a trade-in before cash for clunkers was launched. Since then, 51 percent do. Prior to the program, nearly 9 percent of trade-ins were vehicles that would have qualified as “clunkers.” Since the launch, 39 percent of trade-ins qualify.

The program generated seasonally adjusted sales of 19.6 million new cars, compared with the industry’s sales record of 17.4 million set in 2000, according to Edmunds.

Gettelfinger sums it up this way:

Cash-for-clunkers is a program that has worked. UAW members look forward to working with President Obama and Congress on additional efforts to protect our environment and keep the U.S. auto industry moving forward.


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