Readers react to Obama's auto incentives plan

We asked members of the USA TODAY Shopper Panel who own General Motors or Chrysler vehicles if President Obama's plans to boost car buying would make them more likely to buy a new vehicle, especially from the two beleaguered automakers.

Here are some reactions:

• "We would absolutely be interested in a guarantee of money toward a new vehicle. Of course, the question is how much? We have a 2000 Lincoln that runs great and only has 40,000 miles on it, but we would love a more fuel efficient car. We bought a Dodge Caliber a few years ago and would buy one again. We are not likely to go with GM, I just don't think they are doing enough to conserve energy." — Lisa Martzke, Punta Gorda, Fla.

• "It certainly adds to the cake. Unless something really bad were to come out about GM, I would probably strongly consider them when I was making the decision." — Andy Phelan, Columbus, Ohio

•"To tell you the truth, I would never own another Chrysler vehicle again after the last one I had. I bought it used and I swear the dealer knew it was a lemon to begin with. I got no help from the dealer or Chrysler. We finally dumped it and I've bought another Ford Focus. We are now a two Ford Focus Family. GM and Chrysler can go out of business for all I care. I'm sticking with Ford forever. — Donna Pease, Summerville, S.C.

•"A financial incentive to enhance trade-in value would be a good idea to stimulate buying. However, I believe the free market is ultimately the best policy; let us purchase the vehicle that best suits our needs and circumstances. I do not believe the strong-arm tactic of herding business towards any company that cannot otherwise succeed on the basis of their product and its quality-to-value ratio is wise. Darwinism applies to goods, too. Back off, big government."— Barb Brown, Spring Lake, Mich.

•"I think it is immoral for the government to jump into the private marketplace and start deciding who is worthy of surviving and who is not. Unlike a bank that fails and the FDIC takes it over using funds that banks pay into, this is a private company who has not been able to manage their business for years, that the taxpayers now have to come in to rescue. The chances of ever getting our money back is slim to none in the long run, as you may get back what they were given now, but I truly believe that the government being involved micro-managing this company will just have them needing more government aid in the future, and that is why I do not believe we will ever get back. Because I think it is immoral for the government to give an edge to a failing company, I will vote with my dollars, and use my available cash to reward the companies that are working through tough times through their own hard work and sacrifice vs. asking Uncle Sam to ride to the rescue."— Kristie Maupin, Epping, N.D.

• "Seems like we are willing to print money for less reason. I will only buy an American car anyway, so it really doesn't mean much to me. (The cash) might, however, influence me to buy sooner than later." — Gil Dudrow, Little River, S.C.

• "I would buy a GM product again depending on the deal I got from the dealership, especially since the government is going to back the warranty up. I really can't see the government letting GM go completely under. The loss of jobs would be catastrophic to an already fragile economy. I would feel secure buying a GM or Chrysler product. Since both of my vehicles are 2006 or newer, the (money) toward a new vehicle wouldn't be a useful as just having piece of mind that my warranty is covered."— Dennis Smith, Felts Mills, N.Y.

• "It would definitely persuade me to think about giving up our old minivan, and if we would do that, it would be a GM car. I would not be concerned about the state of the company." —Jennifer Beaton, Westlake, Ohio

•"The 'cash for clunkers' would definitely make me more likely to buy a new GM vehicle. We can not allow the American Auto Industry to crumble to nothing. If we do not buy American we are guaranteeing even more downfall for our country. If we can continue to dish out money to the banks, who are still not loaning, then I feel we can continue to help the American Auto Industry. If the banks would have continued to loan money our Auto Industry may not be in the situation it is currently in." —Tabatha Livengood, Stryker, Ohio

•"I own a 2003 Dodge Durango and would be very interested in trading for a new vehicle made in the US if the 'cash for clunkers' money was substantial. I would not buy a GM or Chrysler product but rather Toyota or Honda if they are on the approved list. Since my car is only 5 years old and in good condition, I would not "trade up" for $5,000; however, I would for $10,000. —Jean Brown, Charlotte

• "I would stay with GM. I have an old 1988 (Chevrolet) S10 (pickup) but it gets better gas mileage than the current replacement vehicles." — Dennis Makins, Franklin, Tenn.

• "I love my GM vehicle and would not hesitate to purchase another GM vehicle in the future. I believe GM may end up filing Chapter 13 but do not believe they will file Chapter 7 and go away forever. I absolutely oppose the government giving out cash or "Vouchers" or "Welfare" (whatever you want to call it) to people who own older vehicles. That is just ridiculous and a total waste of my taxpayer dollars. In my opinion the government has no business in this matter and I believe we would all be better off if the politicians would stay out of everyone's day to day lives. What's next? People with older model cellphones being provided new Blackberries by Obama? —LaJean Pelham, Longwood, Fla.

•"Given the state of (GM and Chrysler) and the poor mismanagement that led to their issues, I would not buy a car from either of them, regardless of the offer they put out on the table. I love my GM car and I'm grateful to own a fairly new vehicle, but I'm so annoyed by their issues and demands from the government, that I don't even want to think about buying a new car for awhile. They really don't deserve our business right now." —Chris Bredael, Eau Claire, Wisc.

•"I think that while I do not necessarily agree with the government bailing out the auto companies or any such companies, I would be interested in buying a new Chrysler vehicle if I was receiving a guaranteed amount of money. That being said, with the economy the way it is, it would also be helpful to have a clause that if you lose your job, the auto company would take the vehicle back and let you out of the contract."— Jacqueline Thomas, Marietta, Penn.•"We are leasing a GM truck and our lease is up in July. We have been tossing the idea around of whether or not we should buy GM or Chrysler again. While we absolutely love the truck we are leasing, we are still undecided as to what we will do when push comes to shove. These bills that are being introduced sure are enticing, but given the current economy we are a little scared to purchase from either automaker. —Donna Cornelius, North Canton, Ohio

•"If I was given money for my older car, especially $10,000, I would definitely trade in for a newer car and I would have no problem buying a GM or Chrysler Vehicle again. I currently have a 2004 Cadillac CTS, 2002 Dodge Ram, and a 1999 Dodge Stratus. If the government backs the warranty, I would buy another GM or Chrysler Vehicle. —Jannine Oates, Waldoboro, Maine

•"I currently own a GM car and have owned many GM and Chrysler vehicles over the years. I guess if I owned an older car and was given a guaranteed amount of money for the trade in, especially if it were more then the blue book value, I would certainly consider buying a new car. However, I am not sure I would buy a Ford, GM or Chrysler right now until I knew there long term health. In fact, I have been planning and saving to buy a new GM Camaro convertible when they became available next year but I have backed off that plan and will not buy until I am sure the company is going to be around awhile. To be fair, I am not just holding off on buying because of the financial state of the company, times are tough and this would be an extra car I do not need." —Robert Williams, Oxford, CT

•"I would purchase a car from (General Motors or Chrysler). My family has cars from both manufacturers and we have been pleased with them. It is a perception that American cars are not as well made as foreign cars, a perception that is perpetuated by the media. I also believe that the 'cash for clunkers' program would work if there was a stipulation that the money had to go towards one of the Big Three American car manufacturers. It would be a win win situation for both the consumers and the companies as the company would get much needed revenue and the consumer would get a brand new car. Why should we bail out the other car companies whose profits go overseas? I know they employ our people but the bulk of the money still goes overseas." —Irene Perretta, Milford, Conn.

•"Neither of the moves…would convince me to buy a new car. If I were to buy a new car, it would be on my own will and in wanting to take advantage of any deals that the dealer and/or the company would be offering. I do like GM products — I own a 2006 Chevy Cobalt right now — and it has been very reliable at this point. My family members are 'Chevy people', so that's where I developed my preference." —Chrissie Combs, Augusta, W.Va.

•"A lot of people just simply can't afford a car payment of any size. The President wouldn't want people to default on these payments because that would make the whole stimulus worthless. It would be a great incentive for people looking for a deal who are actually going to buy. I think it will only help those who really don't need it. It seems to me that all the stimulus packages and incentives aren't helping the right people." —Cheryl Willis, LaVale, Md.

•"I will be in the market to turn my lease in at the end of this year. I am committed to GM." —Ruth Bouldes, Albuquerque