Cash-for-Clunkers debacle generated few new sales

Nearly 700,000 new vehicle were sold using incentives provided by the government's $3 billion Cash-for-Clunkers program that was intended to spark the sagging fortunes of the U.S. auto industry and put legions of newer, more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles on the roads.

But an analysis by Edmunds.com found that the program actually generated only about 125,000 sales that wouldn't have happened anyway in the normal course of things, meaning each new sale cost taxpayers $24,000 instead of the $3,500 to $4,500 rebates that were offered.

 Predictably, rather than responding to the specifics of the Edmunds.com' analysis, a spokesman for the Transportation Department, which administered Cash-for-Clunkers, dismissed it, telling CNN Money that Edmunds has “had only negative things” to say about the program.

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