En­dan­gered species

Craig Cheetham re­veals the mass ex­tinc­tion of cars

Practical Classics (UK) - - CLASSIC WORLD -

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.

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