Maritz Automotive Research Group found that last year’s Cash for Clunkers program in the U.S. increased auto sales without negatively affecting future auto sales, as was feared by critics of the plan.
Using its New Vehicle Customer Study (NVCS), Maritz surveyed 36,000 consumers who bought a new car or truck during the Cash for Clunkers program from July to August 2009. The study found the Cash for Clunkers program created some 542,000 incremental new car or truck sales, specifically because of the program. The study also estimated that some 223,000 vehicles were sold because of a halo effect, meaning that people bought or leased a new vehicle even though they may have wanted to take part in the Cash for Clunkers program but failed to qualify.
“Our findings not only provide strong evidence that many more vehicles were sold as a direct result of the incentive program than were prevously estimated, but they also largely debunk the myth that the Cash for Clunkers mortgaged future care and truck sales,” said Dave Fish, vice-president of Maritz Automotive Research Group. “In fact, the program resulted in sales of vehicles to people who don’t normally buy them.”