Monday, July 27, 2009

No clunker for "cash for clunkers"

I was holding out for "cash for clunkers," which launched yesterday.

But the van didn't make it.

A few weeks ago, my son Kevin totalled my 2000 Dodge Caravan. The wreck wasn't serious -- a rear-ender at a stop light. But Kevin mashed into a Ford Expedition with its big rear bumper and trailer hitch. Punctured Caravan's grill and radiator, engine knocked off its moorings. Kevin was hauled off to the E.R. as a precaution. He's been limping with a sore hip -- not bad, considering. I was sad watching the wrecker tow away the van. Lots of family trips in that Yuppie minivan. Lots of miles. The transmission needed work. And now, no clunker to trade in for a low-mileage vehicle.

I'd done all the figuring. The van had a combined EPA gas mileage rating of 18. That qualified it for CFC. However, the EPA revised the way it determines gas mileage, so i wasn't sure if I would qualify. I was going to trade the van for a Prius, if I could find and afford one, or maybe one of the Ford hybrids.

But the best-laid plans, right? Insurance company paid me off and I bought used this time -- a 2007 Ford Fusion. Decent mileage at a combined 25 mpg under the old system and 23 mpg under the new system. Still good enough to get a CFC check (the smaller one) if the van had survived.

I looked at a Nissan Altima and a Honda Civic. I read the stats. These cars have higher resale values than the Ford. They hold up better and need less maintenance. Or so they say. Never one to let logic get in the way of righteousness, I bought the Ford. Made in the U.S.A. in May 2007 by union labor. Wonder if the men and women who made the car have since been laid off along with thousands of other Americans who actually make things?

Maybe the Fusion is not made in the U.S.A. I started googling the question "Where is the Ford Fusion made?" and came up with all kinds of answers. One reference said that all VINs that start with a "3" are made in the U.S.A. Another said that the Fusion is made in plants in India, Mexico and Brazil. Whom to believe?

I'll have to do more research, maybe even call Ford HQ. More later....


mpage225 said...


Glad Kevin is ok. And sorry you could not take advantage of the clunker program, but the Fusion is a good car and best of all, not a mini-van. We also just got a new car, after my 2000 Honda Accord developed an engine problem too serious to be worth repair.

We like our Honda dealer a lot, and love our Fit, so I let Debbie talk me into a new Honda Accord. Did not get a lot of extras, but do now have a CD player and keyless entry, both firsts for me and am feeling rather special.The worst part is worrying about where I park and getting a ding. There is something liberating about driving a car that is already dinged up and this will take some getting used to.

Also lost more than a few Gator stickers and not sure yet on decorating the new car-may go to the Gator magnets like we did on the Fit.

Finally, my Accord was made in Ohio and I remember now that my last Ford (Mercury Tracer) was made in Mexico. Truly a world economy now, especially in automobiles.


Michael Shay said...

Bob: I'm still looking into the lineage of my Fusion. I realize that we're in a global economy, but I still like to buy Merican.