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Toyota Tops List Of Cash-for-clunkers Winners

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DETROIT — The cash-for-clunkers program turned out to be a boon for Asian automakers and the small cars they specialize in.

While American government officials hailed the month long program, which ended this week, as an overall stimulus to the economy, the biggest winner was Toyota, which accounted for 19 percent of all sales and had two of the top three best-selling models.

The Transportation Department said Wednesday that participants in the clunkers program bought 690,000 new vehicles. About $2.9 billion of the program’s $3 billion was distributed in government vouchers, which were worth $3,500 to $4,500 toward new-car purchases.

Detroit’s three automakers — General Motors, Ford and Chrysler — accounted for 38.6 percent of the vehicles sold. That figure is substantially less than the 45 percent combined market share that the Detroit companies posted in the first seven months of the year.

Japan’s largest automakers — Toyota, Honda and Nissan — sold 41 percent of the new vehicles in the program, compared with the 34 percent combined share they had through July of this year. The Toyota Corolla was the top seller, followed by the Honda Civic, Toyota Camry, Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra.

Not a single model from G.M. or Chrysler made the top 10 list, although G.M. came in second in overall clunker sales.

The success of Toyota and the other Asian automakers was driven by the type of cars in their showrooms. Participants in the clunkers program clearly were interested in downsizing to smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles. About 84 percent of the clunkers traded in were trucks, and 59 percent of the vehicles purchased were cars.

It was a roaring success in shifting more wealth from America to Asia.

GM and Chrysler performance was clearly excellent.

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Most Camrys (biggest selling car in the US) and PU trucks made by Toyota are manufactured in Kentucky. Same thing with Honda and Nissan--mostly US sourced and built. BMW build the Z4 in the US and Mercedes build their awful SUV there. Its really a case of car manufacturing having gone global. Ford and GM are building cars pretty much everywhere too.

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Looking at a Ford Fusion? It is assembled in Mexico. The Chrysler 300C is assembled in Canada, but its transmission is from Indiana; the brand's V-8 engine is made in Mexico. Engines in the Chevrolet Equinox sport utility vehicle are from China.

On the other hand, Toyota's Camry is comprised 80 percent of parts made in the United States, and 56 percent of Toyota's vehicles sold in the U.S. also are made here, according to Toyota spokeswoman Sona Iliffe-Moon.

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