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Uncle Sam Fuels Detroit Sales With Big Vehicle Buy

Gov't Purchase Heavy on Gas Sippers, but It Also Picks Up Some Pickups, Minivans

By Published on . 2

DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- Amid its demand to Detroit to promote fuel-efficient vehicles, the U.S. government is spending $287 million to purchase more than 17,000 cars and trucks from Detroit's three automakers -- among them two types of pickups and a minivan.

Uncle Sam is also helping GM clear out its Pontiac brand, which is being eliminated, with an order for 917 G6 cars.
Uncle Sam is also helping GM clear out its Pontiac brand, which is being eliminated, with an order for 917 G6 cars.
The U.S. General Services Administration ordered a number of vehicles from General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler for a variety of departments and federal agencies as outlined in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or ARRA, a spokeswoman of that federal purchasing and delivery agency told Advertising Age. The order covers 6,348 GM vehicles for $105 million; 7,924 Ford vehicles for $129 million and 2,993 Chrysler models for $53 million, the GSA said.

The buy for the federal fleet includes several hybrid models: 1,150 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid sedans; 1,000 Ford Escape Hybrid SUVs; 900 Ford Fusion Hybrid sedans and 50 of GM's Hybrid Saturn Vue SUVs. Small cars are also a big part of the mix -- nearly 4,200 Ford Focus cars and more than 2,000 fuel-sipping Chevrolet HHR tall wagons. Uncle Sam is also helping GM clear out its Pontiac brand, which is being eliminated, with an order for 917 G6 cars.

Pickups and minivans
But here's the head-scratcher: The order includes two full-size pickups, 930 Ford F-150s and 600 Chevrolet Silverados, along with just more than 1,650 Dodge Caravan minivans.

Each vehicle ordered by the GSA had to meet three requirements, and agencies were able to request specific models, the spokeswoman said. Every model must have a higher miles-per-gallon rating than the one it replaces; the overall purchase must result in a combined fuel-efficiency increase of at least 10% and the purchase must come from vehicles that are currently available.

The older vehicles being replaced will be sold at auction, with the proceeds going back into the pool of available ARRA funds and used to buy more fuel-efficient vehicles for the federal fleet.

Delivery of the new vehicles from GM, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler started recently and will continue through summer.

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