This list of the Top Ten vehicles purchased under the Cash for Clunkers program, according to Edmunds.com, doesn't look like the list the government provides. But it's probably closer to reality.
The government's Top Ten list of cars people bought with the Cash for Clunkers program doesn't count vehicles the way most people would. Instead, the government counts different versions of cars -- for instance two-wheel-drive, four-wheel-drive and hybrid versions -- as different models.
For instance, the Ford Escape, which ranks 10th on the government's list, is just the non-hybrid front-wheel-drive Escape. There are five other Escape's, according the government, that didn't make the list.
But if you count all Ford Escapes combined, as analysts at Edmunds.com did, The Escape actually ranks second.
Edmunds.com's Top Ten Clunker Buys list is based on data received directly from auto dealerships, not on government filings. There are some other differences that in Edmunds.com's list that may not be accounted for by the mere counting discrepancy.. For instance, the government ranks the Focus second to this car, the Ford Focus, fourth and the Corolla first. Reasons for those differences aren't clear, but Edmunds.com's list would still seem to be more representative of what Clunker buyers actually bought.
When it came to Cash for Clunkers, Ford benefited from its past excesses. The vehicle most often traded in was its own once- popular Explorer SUV, the very vehicle that kicked off the SUV craze in the 1990s.
No doubt many of those Explorer owners remained loyal Ford customers. That is likely one of the reasons the two most-purchased vehicles under the program, according to Edmunds.com. were Ford products.