Monday, March 30, 2009

So what's in the auto bailout for us?

I once bought two cars with a Discover card. It wasn't as dumb as it sounds.

We had the cash and trade-in, but it was late in the month and we could still get a big interest payment at the credit union if we bought charged the cars and paid off the card in full the next month.

And we weren't even aiming for cash-back rewards, though the bump as nice. And 25 years ago, my wife really liked Fieros, except for that unplanned spontaneous combustion part. We didn't buy one.

So it was interesting today to poke around President Obama's auto industry bailout package to see what might be in it for us potential buyers. It isn't clear.

Take the cash-for clunkers idea. It's called scrappage incentives in Washington-speak. Paying people to ditch their old gas-guzzling rust buckets for something thrifty with higher than average gas mileage sounds good at first. But we need to see some numbers. Many drivers of old gas-guzzling rust buckets don't have spare cash for new cars right now, or the higher insurance, taxes and other costs that come with. And where do we put the junk yards? It's not easy going green.

And what would we get for the money? Automakers around the world have turned out some pretty nifty rides over the last several decades. They've turned out some market clunkers too.
Who can replace Harley Earle?

No comments: