Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cash For Clunkers

According to this article in today’s New York Times, Asian automakers were the big winners in last month’s Cash for Clunkers program—officially known as the Car Allowance Rebate System, the U.S. program offered a $3,500 to $4,500 rebate to people who traded in an old car for a new one with higher fuel economy. Considering automakers like Toyota, Honda, and Nissan specialize in fuel-efficient compact and sub compact models, it’s no wonder more than 41 percent of cars sold in the U.S. last month were made in Asia. Who knew Bermuda was so ahead of the curve? Spend any amount of time on the island and you’re bound to notice a distinct difference between cars on the road here as opposed to those on any U.S. highway. In Bermuda folks drive tiny cars. If ever a sub-sub-compact class went on the market, they’d get scooped up faster than Usain Bolt at the Olympics. And the vast majority of cars in Bermuda are Asian made. Just last week my wife and I bought our own Asian made vehicle—a five-door Daihatsu Charade (see above). It’s probably the best car I’ve ever owned (Full disclosure: The others were pretty sad, actually. There was a 1988 Hyundai Excel, my very first car bought in high school; a 1980s model rusted-out Subaru I bought in St. Croix, U.S.V.I, for $400 cash; and a Mazda B2200 baby-blue pickup truck that needed a firm smack from a hammer just to get started). At any rate the Daihatsu rides like a dream and best of all, it’s totally fuel-efficient. Considering gas costs a whopping $7 a gallon here in Bermuda, that may be the best news of the day.

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