Car scrappage schemes are back. But instead of being government-sponsored, as it was the first time around in 2009-2010, car makers are piling in with their own offers and, crucially, small print.
The first thing to know is that not all the schemes are actually scrappage schemes. While most commit to scrapping Euro 1-3 vehicles, some do not scrap Euro 4 cars. These will most likely be sold into the trade for resale – worth remembering if you’re being offered a paltry trade-in allowance.
Talking of trade-in allowance, some, such as Nissan’s, are actually discounts since you’re free to negotiate a separate trade-in allowance on top.
Of course, where the scrappage allowance is a trade-in allowance in all but name, the deal only begins to make sense if your car is worth less than the allowance being offered. So you need to establish the trade and private sale values of your trade-in before you consider one of these scrappage deals. At this point, be sure that you understand precisely what level of allowance the car you’re interested in attracts and, indeed, whether it attracts any at all. Many schemes operate a sliding scale of allowances, while some exclude certain models.
Then check out online car sellers for rival deals. These sellers are supplied by dealers keen to shift the metal at almost any price. You may find their deals easily eclipse any scrappage deal, although remember that you’ll only be offered trade or less for your part-exchange since the dealer has most likely blown their margin discounting the new car’s price.
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, low-rate finance and free servicing.
Check exclusions. Frustratingly, some, such as the Volkswagen Group’s schemes, exclude petrol trade-ins. Some insist you have owned your trade-in for six months; others at least 90 days.
Comparing the various schemes is tedious work, so we’ve tried to do some of the hard work for you. Ultimately, what matters is deciding whether you’ll be better off taking the scrappage deal, selling your old car privately and haggling a discount, or buying from an online seller and taking less for your car but enjoying a sizeable cash saving on its price. As always, do your homework.
Scroll through the gallery above to check out the various manufacturer scrappage schemes.