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Desperate marketing

After years without a single scrappage scheme to replace old polluting cars with new clean versions, almost all car companies are now offering these schemes in Europe with generous cashback offers.
These offers are not driven by an altruistic desire to clean up the environment, but rather by the sluggish sales figures in all segments. In Britain, figures show that new car sales to private buyers are down by a substantial 10 percent in August than a year ago. Diesel car sales were even worse — down by 21 percent.
During the recession of 2008, governments came to the rescue with scrappage schemes to encourage sales of new cars in a stagnant market.
This time, hopes of government interventions failed to materialize and companies took matters into their own hands.
The new scrappage scheme offered by car companies to replace old cars with cleaner ones is nothing but a cheap and desperate attempt to boost sales in environmentally wrapped packages.
While offering these schemes, car companies are still selling diesel cars.
Polluting cars taken in part exchange, some of which are in good running order, are not scrapped but rather sold in auctions and most of them are used again on the roads.
Buyers of new cars through these schemes are not doing it for the environment either.
They think they are getting a good deal selling their old cars worth no more than $700 for $2,000 in subsidy form to buy their new cars. What they do not realize is that they are going to lose more money than the incentive they got, in depreciation during the first three years of new car ownership.
These schemes have a whiff of dishonesty about them in the way they describe themselves and in how they are operated by the companies.
They have nothing to do with the environment and they aim at flogging more sales. Similar schemes in the past did not last long.
• Adel Murad is a senior motoring and business journalist, based in London.

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