Today, I spoke to the National Automobile Dealers of America and thanked them for participating in the single most successful short-term economic stimulus program in history.
By now, it's pretty clear that the Car Allowance Rebate System, or CARS program, succeeded beyond everyone's expectations, and we can all take pride in what we’ve accomplished. Working together, we have delivered the goods to provide a struggling economy with a significant boost.
- August retail sales up 2.7%
- August automobile dealer sales up 10.6%
- Sales boosted by about 440,000 vehicles between June and August
- One of the largest 2-month spikes in auto sales on record
- Increased production at Ford, GM, Toyota, and Honda
- 60% improvement in fuel economy
- $3.6 billion contributed to GDP for 2009
- Millions in local and state sales tax revenues to cash-strapped states
That's not a bad list. But, in the process, we’ve also shown that when the federal government and the private sector team up to take bold action, the American public reaps the rewards. That's the kind of partnership I'd like to see more of.
As of this morning, 565,690 CARS vouchers have been paid. That means more than 70 percent of dealers have been paid already. This represents almost $2.4 billion paid or in the pipeline.
I’m enormously proud of the men and women at DOT. Not only did they help get the CARS program up and running in 30 days, but many of them have also worked around the clock to process applications and resolve the issues generated by such a huge response.
The CARS program has worked--it has worked for hard-working families, the local dealerships that serve them, and the domestic auto industry we all depend on.
So, again, a hearty "Thanks" to all of the auto dealers who partnered with us to keep America moving.