And the Big Winner in 'Cash for Clunkers' is...Trucks?

CNN via Drudge

Remember how “Cash for Clunkers” was supposed to take all these dirty, old, polluting cars off the road and replace them with new, green cars that sprouted flowers everywhere they went? Appearantly the opposite happened:

…an independent analysis by Edmunds.com…showed that two full-size trucks and a small crossover SUV were actually among the top-ten buys.

According to the government, small cars topped the list. According to the results obtained by Edmunds.com, 3 of the 5 top sellers were trucks, and 6 of the 10 top bestsellers were either trucks or crossovers. What explains the discrepancy in the result of these two analyses? Appearantly the answer lies in the methodology:

Edmunds.com uses traditional sales measurements, tallying sales by make and model. The government uses a more arcane measurement method that subdivides models according to engine and transmission types, counting them as separate models.

The government’s methodology is akin to taking a dozen eggs and then dividing them down into color and size, and counting them based on color and size, where each color and size gets a different tally. The methodology used by Edmunds.com is akin to taking a dozen eggs ad saying you have a dozen eggs, regardless of their color and size. Edmunds’ methodology is probably more honest since their methodology normalizes for models that have more trim lines and powertrain options available by counting, for example, a Mazda 3 as a Mazda 3, regardless of whether it has 4 doors or 5, an automatic transmission or manual, et cetera et cetera.