That New Car Smell"¦Smells Like $4,500

There is buzz in the news about U.S. auto sales numbers having remarkable growth in July.  The “cash for clunkers” government program CARS (Car Allowance Rebate System) most certainly had something to do with that.   The main focus of the government program is to get older vehicles that typically get less than 18 mpg (miles per gallon) off the street, and replace those vehicles with more fuel efficient alternatives by offering a voucher for up to $4,500.In July, not only did people get cash for their clunkers, they also got the most fuel efficiency out of their purchases with the average of all vehicles being 28.3 mpg.  In July, the list of vehicles that topped the list of vehicles sold included Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Prius and Ford Escape.  With so much action on the showroom floors across the U.S., was this program also drawing similar attention online?

According to the data, the answer is yes.  Traffic to the website cars.gov, the official website for the “cash for clunkers” program, saw a M-O-M volume increase of 781% in July, with over 3.3 million Unique Visitors.  As more and more consumers researched cars.gov, the next logical step in investigating the government program was to research cars.  Unique Visitors to the U.S. automaker websites were also on the rise in July.  General Motors (gm.com) lead the way with a 58% M-O-M increase, while Ford (ford.com), Dodge (dodge.com), Jeep (jeep.com) and Chrysler (chrysler.com) had increases of 48%, 38%, 30% and 29%, respectively.

Unique Visitor traffic to Cars.gov and the U.S. Auto Makers

Unique Visitors to foreign automaker websites also increased in July.  Traffic to Hyundai (hyundaiusa.com) increased 35% M-O-M, while Toyota (toyota.com), Honda (automobiles.honda.com), Mazda (mazdausa.com) and Subaru (subaru.com) had increases of 33%, 24%, 24% and 22%, respectively.  Clearly the success of the “cash for clunkers” program has stimulated the demand for both domestic and foreign vehicles.

Unique Visitor traffic to Cars.gov and the Foreign Auto Makers

Today the Senate will vote to extend the “cash for clunkers” program that would add an additional $2 billion to the program and extend it until Labor Day.  If passed, the additional funding for the program will help drive strong U.S. auto sales once again in August.

But that is not the end of the story.  In a future blog we will be taking a deeper look at Compete’s online consumer activity to see which automaker benefited the most from “cash for clunkers” related traffic.  Was this traffic increase aided exclusively by “cash for clunkers”, or were other attractive automaker incentives contributing to the July sales increase.  Stay tuned for part two…

Categories: Automotive

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