Two pickups are among the top 10 new vehicles purchased under the cash-for-clunkers program, new government data show. That gives credence to claims that the incentive boosted truck sales as it promoted cars, which have better fuel efficiency.
The Chevrolet Silverado ranked No. 8 among cash-for-clunkers purchases, and the Ford F-150 finished 10th.
The top four sellers -- the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Toyota Camry and Ford Focus -- did not change with the new government data, posted late yesterday on the cars.gov Web site. But federal rankings released in late August, when cash for clunkers ended, had listed separately each model's front-wheel-drive, all-wheel-drive, hybrid and/or flex-fuel versions. That gave a top 10 list that had no pickups and only one small SUV -- the fwd Ford Escape.
Combining the models' versions and then ranking the models give a different top 10.
The Escape moves to fifth among new cash-for-clunkers sellers. Its fwd version had ranked 10th in the previous government rankings. The Honda CR-V, another small SUV, placed sixth in the new rankings. It hadn't finished in the previous top 10 because government data had separated its fwd and four-wheel-drive versions.
The Hyundai Elantra moves to seventh from its spot at No. 5 in the previous rankings. Next comes the Silverado, followed by the ninth-place Nissan Versa, which had finished sixth in the previous ranking. The F-150 rounds out the new top 10.
The vehicles bumped out of the previous top 10 -- the seventh-place Toyota Prius, eighth-place Honda Accord and ninth-place Honda Fit -- find homes in the top 20 cash-for-clunkers sellers, according to the new data. The Accord ranks 11th, the Prius 14th and the Fit 17th. Previously, the government had not released data for vehicles that weren't in its top 10.
Government data released when the cash-for-clunkers program ended had shown that Category 1, 2 and 3 trucks had made up 41 percent of new-vehicle purchases, while 84 percent of trade-ins had been trucks. Those percentages haven't changed so the new data don't undermine the government's assertion that the program moved many people from trucks to more fuel-efficient cars.
But some critics had said the previous top 10 made the program look greener than it was by omitting top-selling trucks. For instance, consumer auto site Edmunds.com used sales data it gets from dealer transaction reports to compile a list of top 10 clunker sellers that included the F-150, Honda CR-V and Chevrolet Silverado.
The two-wheel-drive 2010 versions of the three new vehicles on the government's top 10 list average about 19 mpg in combined city and highway driving, according to federal fuel economy estimates. That compares with the 35 mpg combined fuel economy average of the three vehicles that dropped off the top 10.
Under the program's rules, consumers had to trade in vehicles that got poor gas mileage for new ones with better fuel efficiency, unless they were buying the heaviest category of truck.
New top 30
Here are the top 30 sellers under the program, according to the new government data. (Note: Total sales under the program came to 690,114.)
1. Toyota Corolla 29,488
2. Honda Civic 28,475
3. Toyota Camry 27,157
4. Ford Focus 22,393
5. Ford Escape 21,910 (previously No. 10)
6. Honda CR-V 20,106 (not in previous top 10)
7. Hyundai Elantra 19,801 (previously No. 5)
8. Chevrolet Silverado 16,340 (not in previous top 10)
9. Nissan Versa 16,300 (previously No. 6)
10. Ford F-150 16,284 (not in previous top 10)
11. Honda Accord 15,924 (previously No. 8)
12. Nissan Altima 15,433
13. Toyota RAV4 15,259
14. Toyota Prius 15,018 (previously No. 7)
15. Ford Fusion 13,425
16. Chevrolet Cobalt 13,338
17. Honda Fit 12,361 (previously No. 9)
18. Nissan Sentra 12,158
19. Chevrolet Aveo 11,560
20. Toyota Tacoma 10,692
21. Hyundai Sonata 10,551
22. Chevrolet Equinox 10,244
23. Chevrolet Malibu 10,160
24. Mazda3 9,167
25. Chevrolet HHR 8,897
26. Hyundai Accent 8,686
27. Volkswagen Jetta 8,450
28. Subaru Forester 8,255
29. Hyundai Santa Fe 7,908
30. Ford Ranger 7,150