I found myself sporting a heavy heart as I listened to the news that the Government’s Scrappage Scheme has been extended (and now includes cars up to V-registration). Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that a strong new car market benefits us all, but the current Government sponsored initiative really, really smacks of hypocracy to me.
On one hand they tell us that getting us all into greener cars but, as we all know, the greenest form of motoring is to run old cars as long as possible with regular maintenance. Sustainability is not a difficult to grasp and yet, in the interest of short-termism, this has been overlooked in a doomed attempt to keep new cars rolling off the line.
I suppose my problem is this: the production of new cars takes up massive resources and it’s highly unlikely that the huge environmenal cost has been amortised during the ten-year period that manufacturers and legislators believe that new cars turn into scrap. Think about it for a moment: go outside, take a look at the next V-registered car you see and then tell me, all it’s good for is to allow someone a £2000 discount on an over-priced new car.
For a laugh, I took this Saab 900 to my local Volkswagen dealer – the young salesman was, of course, positively salivating at the thought of scrapping this so I could get into a new Polo. Indeed.
Yes, then, I do object to the fact that, amongst all those cars now being traded in under the Scrappage Scheme, there’s a huge number of perfectly useable, desirable cars that would serve well for years to come. Yes, they need servicing and parts – and that keeps the UK’s garage and parts supply industry in business – but running them would be far less stressful than the new car people would have you believe. More importantly, there’s no monthly payment to worry about.
That’s really my main beef with scrappage – buyers are being encouraged to go into long-term financial arrangements. How many of those buyers would have been happy with their old cars as they were? How many of those new car buyers can really afford to go into hock? Just what caused this bloody recession in the first place?
In short: let’s borrow more so we can buy more economic misery…