The August market may have provided a bright spot in a dismal year for US vehicle sales, but whether this is the start of a positive trend or merely a temporary spike followed by a downturn, remains to be seen, according to the Society of Automotive Analysts (SAA).

"To me, the jury is still out on 'Cash for Clunkers.'  Only after September and October will we know the overall, net impact of the programme.  Historically, these major spikes in consumer demand created by one-time incentive programmes have been followed by similarly major troughs, resulting in marginal long-term benefits.  We'll see," said Tom Libby, SAA president.

Laurie Harbour-Felax, SAA vice president and president, Harbour Results Inc., said, "It remains to be seen whether 'Cash for Clunkers' was the jump start the industry needed or whether it just pulled ahead future sales, but for a period of time it appears to have helped many suppliers see some volume for the future. People are feeling the uptick but how long will it really last, no one can say for sure."

Mike Robinet, Vice President of CSM Worldwide and a member of the Board of Directors of the Society of Automotive Analysts, agrees with his colleagues. "The success of the 'Clunkers' program quickly drew down inventories of many offerings which are in the process of currently being rebuilt.  At issue is how far the market will fall through the balance of the year due to sales pulled forward and the continued economic roadblocks facing the consumer."

US sales rise 4.9%