When the UK government introduced a scrappage scheme back in 2009, it was hoping to encourage drivers to trade in their old cars for more environmentally friendly new models. At the time, this move was controversial and attracted criticism from drivers of new and used cars, classic car enthusiasts, and environmentalists.
The scheme cost the government £400 million ended back in 2010, since then many car manufacturers have launched private scrappage schemes of their own. Under the schemes, drivers trading in an older car receive money off a brand-new vehicle. The European standards on vehicle emissions, which include carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide, have been growing stricter since the introduction of the Euro 1 standard in 1993. Euro 6 was introduced in 2014, and the current vehicle scrappage schemes all apply to cars that meet standards 1 to 4.
The difference between these schemes and a traditional trade in; is the old cars are scrapped rather than sold on by dealers. Usually, the cars must have been in the owner’s possession for a minimum period of time, this prevents drivers buying a cheap non-road worthy model just to take advantage of the scrappage scheme. Combining the scrappage incentive with other offers can mean savings of up to £8,000 from some manufacturers. With the other benefits of a more environmentally friendly car, such as a cheaper insurance policy and lower running costs, this becomes a very tempting deal.
Some manufacturers, like Fiat, will only accept scrappage cars from their own family of brands, while others will take any marque. Offers tend to be in proportion to price tags, so some of the biggest savings can be found at the high end of the market. Audi are offering up to £8,000 off a new model in exchange for diesel vehicles made after 2009, while Mazda will take up to £5,000 off one of its low emission models.
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Drivers looking for a new van can save up to £7,000 on a Citroën Relay or Peugeot Boxer, and up to £5,000 on a Ford Transit. Even Uber is getting in on the act, offering £1,500 in app credit to users who scrap a Euro 1 to 4 vehicle. Critics of scrappage schemes point to the wastage involved in scrapping serviceable vehicles, and claim that the lower emissions of a new vehicle will be offset by the fact that owners tend to drive new cars more often, and further, than older ones that may breakdown. They also point out in some cases, customers can purchase any car from the range and not just greener models.
Is the move towards scrappage schemes by car manufacturers a genuine attempt to rid the roads of vehicles with high emissions, or is it a motor trade gambit to boost sales and steer customers towards a particular brand? Whatever your opinion, if you’re in the market for a new car, it’s worth investigating the deals available.