If you thought everyone who turned in a "clunker" as part of the federal "Cash for Clunkers" program was trading down to something a lot smaller, think again. Turns out, plenty of SUVs and pickups were purchased with the $3 billion, "with three truck models among the top 10 sellers," according to this report in The Detroit Free Press.
The story suggests that the Obama administration may have finessed the data a bit, in order to downplay the fact that not everyone who participated was buying a Prius (which ranked 15th among makes purchased).
Reports The Free Press:
"While the mania over cash-for-clunkers was under way in July and August, federal officials offered a breakdown of deals submitted by dealers that split models based on whether they were two-wheel or four-wheel drive. That analysis tended to give higher ranks to cars with no such option while underplaying the popularity of all-wheel-drive SUVs and trucks.
Using data released by the government this weekend, the Free Press’ analysis found that while the top four vehicles were the same in both lists -- the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Toyota Camry and Ford Focus – the Ford Escape SUV was the fifth-most popular vehicle overall, with 21,894 sold."
The paper also confirms that foreign car companies were the program's primary corporate beneficiaries, "with Detroit automakers claiming just 38.9% of the sales submitted."