Oh Crap, Japan Adopts Cash for Clunkers

celicagtv_junkedWell it was bound to happen. The Cash for Clunker program has hit the motherload, in the motherland of our favorite cars. Japan is now offering citizens ¥250,000 (about $2500) towards the purchase of a new car if they trade in any car 13 years or older.

When we first started following the Cash for Clunkers saga the program was a misguided attempt at ecology. But then the world economy turned to poo and any environmentally minded pretense was flushed down the toilet faster than a spider in a tissue. As automakers felt the tug of shrinking sales manufacturers unleashed their lobbyists unto your elected officials for a way to boost new car sales. Originally the program existed only in a handful of states but now it’s going nationwide and has hit Germany, the UK, a bunch of European countries we can’t pinpoint on a map, and now Japan.

The thing is, Japan has had their own sinister equivalent going on for decades. The Shaken is an exhaustive inspection that is required of any car once it reaches the age of three. It’s the reason why, on Japanese roads, you never see a single spot of oil, a car in the shoulder afflicted by anything more serious than a flat tire, or rusty old heaps full of cracks and mismatched panels. It’s also so expensive, about $1500, that many Japanese simply dispose of their cars every three years.

That’s the dirty little secret. The Shaken is a huge boon to the auto industry, but it’s also the source of all our low mileage SR20s and 1JZs from. After the first Shaken it’s required every two years. Keeping an old car alive is so ridiculously expensive in Japan it’s a wonder there are any classics left at all.

Until now there have only been expenses for keeping your nostalgic around, but now there’s an additional reward for giving it up. We’d say it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out, but it won’t be. It’ll probably just be one big tragedy for J-tin. We feel like Charlton Heston kneeling on the beach at the end of Planet of the Apes right about now.

[Source: AutoObserver via Hemmings, which also has this great post about non-Japanese C4C programs]

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12 Responses to Oh Crap, Japan Adopts Cash for Clunkers

  1. Bob said:

    This is BAD.

    FAWK.

    I’d hope that anything that has been kept around for decades, especially with that program in effect, would mean that the people keeping those cars on the road are bent on keeping those cars on the road. But who knows…

  2. Carl Beck said:

    I would suggest that instead of “feeling” like Charlton Heston – kneeling on the beach… It would be far better to act like Mr. Heston leading the NRA to protect and preserve our Second Amendment rights.

    That is to say; we should all be joining SEMA’s Action Network aka SAN, and sending our own Lobbyists to the Federal and State Legislatures. The only thing the professional politicians understand is “money” and “voting power”. Car Enthusiasts matter, only if they get out and vote as a group… Voter Turn-out trumps business campaign contributions.

    http://www.semasan.com/

    It is good that you recognize that the “cash for clunkers” like so many other things – has nothing to do with the environment, and that you correctly point out who will benefit as our tax dollars are spread out to buy campaign contributions.

    FWIW,
    Carl

  3. Sr-FairladyZ said:

    Ugh, ruin my morning why don’t’cha! So the super inspection is every 3yrs? I thought it was @ 50K miles. Maybe it’s 3yrs or 50K, which ever comes first? I love my low mileage SR20!

  4. We need the “Right to own Classic Cars” amendment added to the Constitution.

  5. Nigel said:

    Keep your old cars. Lets not turn our nostalgics into yet another exclusive “boys club”. I want to buy these cars in “Auto Trader” and not “Barret Jackson”.

  6. Sarcasmo said:

    Barrett Jackson is gay.

  7. joe said:

    well, if the government is offering $2500 for the cars, just pay more than they would, and hope that it doesn’t cost to much to import em

  8. Billy-S30 said:

    Actually, Joe makes a pretty good point. What if there were a way to maybe group import them, or ship them in bulk. I wonder if that would bring the price down enough to make it worth it. If they don’t want’em we could certainly take them over here in the states.

  9. nlpnt said:

    Japan already does a brisk export trade in used cars because of the Shakedown…er, Shaken.

  10. greenmonster said:

    While the shaken mostly affects only cars in the mainland, there is a higher concentration of old metal there. Hopefully the smaller islands do not initiate this as well or we really are screwed.

  11. slickwrick said:

    that cant be good!

  12. KEVIN GURNEY said:

    I HEAR CANADA IS A GOOD PLACE TO GO FOR JAPANESE CARS YOU CAN GET EM CHEAP OVER THERE!! NOT ONLY CARS BUT TRUCKS AS WELL

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