The UK will follow Germany as the next European country to get BMW incentives designed to attract drivers of older diesels into buying cleaner models.
Confirmed by BMW following its announcement of the scheme to German customers, BMW drivers of Euro4 and older diesels from any manufacturer a grant of up to £2000 for the purchase of a low-emitting BMW or Mini vehicle.
Models they can trade up to include full electric cars such as the i3, plug-in hybrids such as the 225xe Active Tourer and Euro6-compliant models with CO2 outputs of below 130g/km. The scheme will run until 31 December 2017.
The company intends to expand the initiative to include several other countries in Europe, following its advent in Germany and now its extension to UK customers. A BMW spokesman explained that the incentive would also help to convince customers into alternative powertrains; the current uptake is slowed by customers' fear of the unknown surrounding the comparatively new EV and hybrid technologies
It was stressed that the scheme is not a scrappage scheme; what happens to the cars traded in is decided on a case-by-case basis, with only the lowest value being taken off the road, but BMW is looking at "the best way possible" to dispose of the trade-ins. It would then be up to individual retailers what happens to the other cars.
BMW has recently issued a voluntary service action for some of its diesel models to issue them with new software that it claims will reduce nitrogen oxide output. BMW chairman Harald Krüger said diesel remains important in the fight to lower global emissions, despite pressure on the fuel type following Volkswagen's Dieselgate.
“State-of-the-art diesels will definitely play an important role in future mobility,” Krüger said during a recent BMW conference call to shareholders. “Modern efficient diesel engines ensure lower CO2 emissions.”
The BMW group has sold more than 50,000 electrified cars around the world so far in 2017; it's expected that the move will prompt a sharp increase in the models' sales.
Competitors Volkswagen and Audi have also announced similar schemes, which started in Germany but are now also offered to UK customers.
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