Cash for Clunkers Stirs Foreign Car Sales
By Dave Jordan, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- It was supposed to stimulate the American auto industry but it seems like many foreign automakers are cashing in on the cash for clunkers rebate program.
Mike Milligan runs a Honda dealership and he says sales were already doing well before the cash for clunkers deal, but it did give his business a boost. And it appears many drivers are opting for foreign over domestic.
The so-called clunkers are a who's who of some of the most popular American rides over the past decade that include Caravans, Cherokees, Explorers and pickups. But they're now left behind in favor of Civics and Accords.
Cash for clunkers has already lifted sagging sales of American cars and foreign automakers are reaping the rewards as well.
"The first of July, when it was announced that it was going to come out, we had a lot of interest, a lot of interest," Milligan said.
Financial analyst Keith Geary credits overseas automakers for tapping into that niche market.
"I guess that it really goes to show is that the foreign automakers have done a better job of identifying the low end of the market and servicing that market," Geary said.
Now it's up to America carmakers to play catch up.
"The American market has sort of ignored that and gone to the bigger cars, higher mile per gallon so it was only natural that we would be behind the eight ball on these smaller cars," Geary said.
Milligan says either way, it's a win-win for the consumer and America.
"Quite frankly most of the Honda product is made in America itself, and the dollars are staying in America for that part," Milligan said.
And Geary pointed that out as well. But again, American automakers are also moving product through this program, even though most of them haven't been paid yet.
Ford is increasing third quarter production by 18 percent to meet the increased demand for its vehicles. Ford Focus and Escapes are among the cars being requested by consumers.