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Auto Industry Introduces Scrappage Schemes for Diesel Vehicles Across Europe, UK

Scrappage schemes seem to be popping up almost daily as auto manufacturers across the UK and Europe ramp up efforts to drive polluting vehicles off the roads in anticipation of tightening governments regulations on air quality and emissions. In recent weeks, Ford, Toyota, Kia, Nissan, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Vauxhall and Renault have all rolled out their own respective initiatives to incentivize drivers to make the transition over to lower-emitting options, following urging from UK government late last year.

In May 2017, Vauxhall became the first major automaker to offer a diesel scrappage scheme in the UK, offering £2,000 towards the purchase of a new Vauxhall vehicle. The scheme was, however, short-lived with the program running only until the end of June.

Ford, which has actively been working with the city of London to reduce its emissions over the past year, teaming up with Transport for London (TfL) to roll out a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) pilot, has followed suit, presenting drivers with a similar offer. With the trade in of a vehicle (diesel or petrol) registered before 2009, the mobility giant is offering £2,000 towards a newer model. Ford has confirmed that the offer applies to vehicles from any manufacturer.

“Ford shares society’s concerns over air quality. Removing generations of the most polluting vehicles will have the most immediate positive effect on air quality and this Ford scrappage scheme aims to do just that,” said Andy Barratt, Chairman for Ford.

“We don’t believe incentivizing sales of new cars goes far enough and we will ensure that all trade-in vehicles are scrapped. Acting together we can take hundreds of thousands of the dirtiest cars off our roads and out of our cities.”

BMW is offering owners of BMWs and Minis registered before 2005 a £1,800 discount on BMW i3 or Euro 6 vehicles with CO2 emissions up to 130g/km, while Mercedes-Benz is giving consumers £2,000 off new vehicles — including electric vehicles — until the end of 2017 with the trade in of a Euro 1-4.

Nissan and Toyota have, however, likely put forth the most appealing propositions to drivers. Nissan’s ‘Sitch Scheme’ offers £2,000 plus trade-in value to buyers wanting to purchase a new Nissan LEAF, as well as up to £5,000 available across the company’s entire product portfolio and a £2,00 incentive for used 24kWh LEAFs. Similarly, Toyota’s program covers every model in its passenger range, from the Aygo to the Land Cruiser, as well as its light commercial vehicle lineup. The scheme is open to any make or model more than seven years old and the value of the trade-in depends on which Toyota model being purchased — consumers can expect to receive £2,000 for a Prius, £4,000 for a Land Cruiser and £1,000 for a C-HR or C-HR Hybrid.

Renault — which recently came under fire for potentially cheating on exhaust emissions — is pairing its £2,000 allowance with price cuts to allow for significant savings, while Kia — whose program is the most limited to-date — gives consumers a £2,000 allowance on the Kia Picanto or Kia Rio.

While governments across the UK and EU have finally started recognizing the environmental and human health impacts of diesel fuel, limited action has been taken to address the issue in full force. Industry-led scrapping initiatives, therefore, are leading the shift towards a diesel-free future and serving as the first steps in tackling the large-scale emissions problem head on. However, still more needs to be done.

“It seems the motor industry is finally waking up to the damage dirty diesels are doing to our lungs as well as their own reputation,” commented Anna Heslop, a lawyer with ClientEarth, on the recent scrappage scheme announcements.

“What we need is a thought-through, coherent strategy from government to help people to move to cleaner and more sustainable technology. At the moment, there are pockets of small, short-term actions here and there, but nothing like the joined up thinking we need to solve this problem.”


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