Cash for Clunkers boosting foreign automakers.

The Associated Press is trying to find out if the Cash for Clunkers program is working.

In the era of “transparency,” it’s having a hard time getting any help from the Obama administration.

According to the AP, the Department of Transportation reports it’s “too busy” to provide information that car dealers are providing to it about the program.

But from what little data has been released, it appears it’s been a gold mine… for “foreign” car companies:

The limited information shows most buyers are not picking Ford, Chrysler or General Motors vehicles, and six of the top 10 vehicles purchased are Honda, Toyota and Hyundai. The Associated Press has sought release of the data since last week. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Sunday the government would release it.

It’s true that many of the popular models are made in the U.S., but the Prius — one of the popular cars in this deal — isn’t one of them. It’s only made in Japan.

The Honda Accord, on the other hand, is made in Marysville, Ohio. The V6 model comes from Alabama. Seventy-six percent of Hondas sold in the United States are made in the U.S.

So far, the Ford Focus is the top-selling vehicle under the government’s program. It’s made in Wayne, Michigan.

But not all fuel efficient car models are benefiting from the program. Sales of the Chevy Cobalt, GM’s most fuel efficient car, tanked in July.

  • Bob Moffitt

    As others have noted, labels like “foriegn” or “American” authomakers become murky when the Ford is built in Mexico and the Toyota is built in Tennessee.

    “The Associated Press is trying to find out if the Cash for Clunkers program is working.”

    I guess that depends on how you define “working.” Is it moving a lot of new metal? Yes. Do the new vehicles get better MPG? Yes. Does it prove that there is a pent-up demand for new cars, if the deal is right? Yes.

    So, what is the AP trying to determine “works?” Selling only USA made vehicles was not one of the goals of the CARS program.

  • Bob Collins

    The Ford is no longer built in Mexico, fyi. Operations were consolidated in Michigan.

  • David Brauer

    As a high-mpg-er, briefly considered the hybrid Focus, but it was a lot more expensive than the Prius.

  • John P.

    Then there’s the issue of parts. A Car assembled in the U.S of A. can be made from parts manufactured anywhere. My Ford, assembled in Michigan has “Made in Brazil” all over things like the wipers and mirrors. The transmission was made my Mazda in Japan. My Honda was assembled in Ohio, and boasted 90 or 95% U.S. content on the window sticker, but the engine came from Japan. The final assembly point may not even be the most important factor in the end. It seems like they are all international now. Are “American” manufacturers required to put a “Domestic Content” number on their window stickers?