Wrote the paragraph below a few months ago. Just wanted to state for the record, that even with out the Cash for Clunkers program, the car industry is in for good times. The Clunkers program which probably has no redeeming social value except as a very rapid $3 billion stimulus (the last $2 billion are still being debated though) into the economy. I am probably also more annoyed because my "clunker" missed qualifying by just 1 mpg. But otherwise, it is likely bad for the environment, potentially quite wastefully destroying good cars.
Despite the doom and gloom, the short term forecast for the car industry is good times ahead. This article takes a gloomy look, saying that US demand for news cars will fall just like it fell 46% this year from 17 million to 10 million. But the short term effect of that is a huge pent up demand for new cars that is going to help the car industry come roaring back in the next few years. That along with the $60 billion or so in handouts GM alone got, will mean the US car industry should be quite profitable in the short term. Of course, one still has to wonder whether it was worth the $60 billion+ in tax payer money.