Vauxhall has disguised discounting its laminated book of mediocrity by relaunching ‘Scrappage’. It’s offering a minimum of £2000 trade in for old cars against most models, with fulfilment via the presumably ironically titled ‘Autogreen’.
I’ve advocated models of scrappage – in hand with rises in special car tax equivalents – but this is going to harm the Modern Classics magazine market, not for the mag – but for the cars. My recently-bought Honda Accord Coupe, in case I need to remind anyone, cost £170 with four months’ MoT, and lots of lovely kit like leather, sunroof and A/C.
Scrap values are on the floor. Destroying usable and safe older cars to promote the sale of new, short-lived cars with an environmental impact equal to running the old one for 10 more years, is stupid, shortsighted. Few cars sold in the UK are made here – we export well, thankfully – and that includes Vauxhall, where many models are made overseas and many more components are.
It is easy to understand why trading in a car like the Accord, and getting £2000 off a brand new PCP deal (plus dealer incentives) would appeal, Yet General Motors has already been burned by offsetting production cost against finance package and maintenance income. This is the wrong model for selling cars.
A couple of years ago I decided I did not need a new car. From most angles that assumption is right – my old Chrysler 300C was already old when I got it. Right now my youngest car is 13 years old and broken, but another £150 thrown at the Honda and I’ll have a car that should easily handle another 18 months without extra costs. I am having trouble with the concept of ‘austerity’ being valid when I think about the UK car sales figures when options like this are available – in fact, a 16 year old fully functional car being worth only £170 is the absolute argument against the idea that the UK is truly in austerity beyond the media hype and political propaganda.
Austerity is an excuse to keep the poor poor, and £2000 scrappage deals are an excuse to keep the poor indebted to large corporations, with no real element of environmentalism.