Craig Cheetham reveals the mass extinction of cars
As scrappage schemes and tougher MOT legislation take hold, some of the UK’S best-loved cars of the Nineties and early 2000s are facing extinction, with the changing pattern of car buying and legislation designed to make older cars less attractive forcing them towards an early demise.
The latest set of data from the DVLA shows that some of the most popular cars that younger Practical Classics readers grew up with have seen their numbers go into freefall, with some seeing their survival rate halve over the past two years.
Between the first quarter of 2016 and the same period in 2018, half of the remaining Citroën Saxos, Peugeot 306s, Rover 25s and Citroën Xantias were scrapped, while other once-popular models such as the Vauxhall Omega, MG ZS and Alfa Romeo 156 also saw 50 per cent drops.
The data can’t be guaranteed 100 per cent accurate as it only includes the cars that are currently taxed and tested on British roads, not accounting for those on SORN notifications, but the numbers are a very clear guide as to the speed at which their numbers are dwindling.
Changing patterns in car buying are one reason, with 90 per cent of new cars now bought on contract leases or hire purchase.
For those who follow a more traditional method of car buying, a wave of ‘scrappage’ schemes concocted by manufacturers and dealer groups to reinvigorate car sales that were affected by tax rises and Brexit uncertainty in the latter half of 2017 and earlier this year saw a wave of older models disappearing from our roads.
Although there was no legal requirement or government incentive to scrap cars, many main dealers simplified the entire process by arranging for all scrappage scheme cars to be taken away and destroyed.
The data coincides with the release of the SMMT’S Sustainability Report, which showed that the average age at which a car was scrapped in the UK had risen to 14.1 years in the 2016-17 period, compared to 11.9 years in 2010 when the government-backed scrappage scheme was in full swing.
When the data for 2017-18 is released next June, analysts expect the age to drop significantly in line with the latest round of scrappage incentives.
Cars such as this Alfa need to live on.