Scrap­page in­sight

Car firms’ schemes com­pared

Autocar - - CONTENTS -

Ev­ery car I’ve ever owned has lost money – un­til now. Thanks to the raft of car scrap­page schemes launched re­cently, my 95,000-mile, EU4, 2006-reg­is­tered Vaux­hall As­tra 1.6 SXI three-door, owned by me for more than 90 days, has gone from be­ing worth around £500 to as much as £5000 when part-ex­changed against a new Hyundai Santa Fe (start­ing price £32,545).

As a re­spon­si­ble cit­i­zen, I should be tempted. Af­ter all, Hyundai and the 22 other car mak­ers that have launched scrap­page schemes in the past cou­ple of weeks – Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Citroën, DS, Fiat, Ford, Jeep, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes, MG, Mini, Nis­san, Peu­geot, Re­nault, Seat, Skoda, Suzuki, Toy­ota, Vaux­hall and Volk­swa­gen – say my As­tra is among the most pol­lut­ing cars on the road.

So what are these new scrap­page schemes, how do they work and are they any good? The first thing to say is that they’re not govern­ment spon­sored, so there’s a huge va­ri­ety of ap­proaches, deals, and terms and con­di­tions out there. In fact, one or two schemes (BMW, Hyundai, Mercedes, Mini and Nis­san) aren’t scrap­page schemes at all since some or all of the cars they ac­cept in par­tex­change are not scrapped. In­stead, their deals are dis­counts, pure and sim­ple, es­pe­cially since one or two (for ex­am­ple, Nis­san) give a par­tex­change al­lowance in ad­di­tion.

Most in­sist your old car is Eu1to Eu4-com­pli­ant and reg­is­tered no later than 31 De­cem­ber 2009 (Vaux­hall will take any age) and that you’ve owned it for at least 90 days. Some, such as Mercedes and Seat, re­quire you to have owned it for six months. And while some (such as Ford, Hyundai, Kia, Nis­san, Re­nault and Vaux­hall) will ac­cept petrol and diesel trade-ins, oth­ers (such as the VW Group, the BMW Group and Mercedes) ac­cept only diesels.

Most schemes of­fer a slid­ing scale of al­lowances rather than, like Vaux­hall, a ‘one-size-fits-all £2000’. It’s a good idea since £2000 against a £29,000 Mokka X is not as valu­able as £2000 against a £12,000 Corsa.

Typ­i­cally, not all new mod­els at­tract an al­lowance and, even where a model does, you may find that cer­tain trims don’t. This sug­gests that be­hind the car mak­ers’ en­vi­ron­men­tal ar­gu­ment is a sales one. (Dur­ing the first seven months of the year, new car sales were 2.2% lower than the same pe­riod last year.)

BMW and Mini dress up their al­lowances rather bet­ter by ex­clud­ing new mod­els emit­ting more than 130g/km CO2. With BMW claim­ing 80% of its mod­els, and Mini 70%, emit less than this, there’s a fair chance your cho­sen model will qual­ify. Mean­while, Nis­san of­fers up to £2000 against its ap­proved used Leafs, but make sure you es­tab­lish the true value of the Leaf you’re in­ter­ested in so you can un­der­stand if the £2000 be­ing of­fered is a gen­uine sav­ing.

Don’t think that scrap­page al­lowances are the cherry on the cake; a lit­tle ex­tra over and above all of the other gen­er­ous sales in­cen­tives car mak­ers throw at cus­tomers these days. Some schemes, such as Toy­ota’s and the VW Group’s, ex­clude other re­tail of­fers. That means you could miss out on a bumper PCP de­posit con­tri­bu­tion or 0% fi­nance.

The best scrap­page deals give you ev­ery­thing: a gen­er­ous scrap­page al­lowance as well as a trade-in al­lowance and ac­cess to ex­ist­ing re­tail of­fers such as PCP de­posit con­tri­bu­tions and low-rate fi­nance. Nis­san is one of the few to of­fer the usual trade-in al­lowance as well as the scrap­page al­lowance.

If your car is worth more than the £2000 scrap­page al­lowance be­ing of­fered, con­sider the mer­its of the deal. If noth­ing else is on the ta­ble (an ex­tra part-ex­change al­lowance, ac­cess to other re­tail of­fers), you could be out of pocket, so first es­tab­lish the trade and pri­vate sale val­ues of your trade-in.

Then check on­line car sell­ers for ri­val deals. These busi­nesses are sup­plied by deal­ers who are keen to shift metal at al­most any price. You may find their deals eas­ily eclipse any scrap­page deal, al­though re­mem­ber that you’ll be of­fered only trade value or less for your part-ex­change.

So what’s it like to of­fer up your trusty nail to a dealer, in ex­change for a scrap­page al­lowance? I vis­ited three to find out. The first one, a Vaux­hall dealer, at first claimed the scrap­page of­fer had ended, be­fore then check­ing it still had a month to run. He said they’d done loads of scrap­page deals. (Vaux­hall claims that be­tween the cur­rent scheme’s launch in May and the end of Au­gust, it scrapped more than 5000 cars, 63% of them from other mar­ques.)

I said I was in­ter­ested in a new As­tra SRI 1.0i Turbo. I was in luck, the sales­man said: there was an un­reg­is­tered one on the fore­court. Its full price was £20,100 but scrap­page al­lowance and ‘FDA’ brought it down to £15,192. “What’s FDA?” I asked. “Fi­nance de­posit al­lowance,” the sales­man said. Ba­si­cally, the de­posit con­tri­bu­tion if I fi­nanced it on a PCP.

“How can I get it for that price if I pay cash?” I asked.

“Fi­nance it on the PCP and then set­tle it straight away,” he said. “Peo­ple do it all the time.”

Ford next. The sales­man told me they’d sold 17 cars on scrap­page since Ford started its scheme a week ago. It was a good one since it was backed by the govern­ment, he told me, wrongly.

Ford of­fers a slid­ing scale of al­lowances on most mod­els. The sales­man said I could have a Fo­cus 1.0 125PS St-line with Ap­pear­ance and Con­ve­nience Packs, in metal­lic black and from stock, for £20,280, af­ter the £4450 scrap­page al­lowance.

“It’s a good deal,” he claimed. “Our max­i­mum dis­count is £2500 on that model, plus you still get 0% fi­nance.”

Fi­nally, Hyundai. Like Ford, the com­pany of­fers a slid­ing scale of al­lowances but 2.9% rather than 0% fi­nance. I could have an i30 1.0 T-GDI SE Nav for £16,006 af­ter the £4000 scrap­page al­lowance.

“You’re bet­ter off do­ing it this way by £1000,” said the sales­man. “With­out scrap­page, your As­tra is worth £500. My max­i­mum dis­count is £2500, which makes £3000 off the price. This way, you get £4000 off.”

When avail­able with other ex­ist­ing re­tail of­fers, scrap­page is a great idea. How­ever, you need to be clear about the value of your trade-in and check on­line sell­ers to see if you can get a bet­ter deal with­out scrap­page.

Among the best schemes is Nis­san’s for its scope. It ac­cepts petrol and diesel trade-ins, while scrap­page and trade-in al­lowances are avail­able that can be com­bined with ex­ist­ing re­tail of­fers. How­ever, it fin­ishes at the end of Septem­ber. Ford, Re­nault and Hyundai of­fer hand­some al­lowances and ac­cess to ex­ist­ing re­tail of­fers and will ac­cept petrol and diesel trade-ins too.

Check on­line to see if you can do bet­ter with­out scrap­page

trade-in Not all schemes scrap your

Re­nault’s scrap­page scheme is one of the more flex­i­ble ones

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