So far, 23 scrappage schemes have been launched in quick succession by car makers. Are they a good deal or just a sales and PR ruse?
23 September 2017

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, Euro 4, 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 these schemes in the past couple of weeks – Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Citroën, DS, Fiat, Ford, Jeep, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, MG, Mini, Nissan, Peugeot, Renault, Seat, Skoda, Suzuki, Toyota, Vauxhall and Volkswagen – say my Astra is among the most polluting cars on the road. 

Scrappage schemes: which brands have one? 

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, a few of them (BMW, Hyundai, Mercedes, Mini and Nissan) aren’t scrappage schemes at all, since some or all of the cars they accept in part-exchange are not scrapped. Instead, their deals are discounts, pure and simple, especially since one or two (for example, Nissan) give a part-exchange allowance in addition. 

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Most insist your old car is Euro 1-
4, 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 in the same period last year.) 

BMW and Mini dress up their allowances rather better by excluding new models emitting more than 130g/km of CO2. With BMW claiming 80% of its models, and 70% of Minis, 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 that 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
 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 which were 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. 

Related stories: 

Scrappage schemes: which brands have one? 

Vauxhall Astra review 

Join the debate


23 September 2017

that, whatever these schemes provide, a lot of car sales people still don't know their ar5e from their elbow. 

23 September 2017

I mean, car companies and dealers are known for their non-commercial give-aways aren't they. Just goes to show the mark up on each car.

Batter them for a discount, and don't get drawn into a terrible discussion about a trade-in / pseudo scrappage, or "I'll have to speak to the manager". It obfuscates how much you are being overcharged, and keeps their margin higher than it should be. Do your research on the internet, and state the deal you will buy at, and if they won't shift, go to another dealer who will probably offer you the deal. About a week later the sales person from the original company will ring back with what you wanted, by which time you would have already bought elsewhere at the price you wanted to pay.

the dance that happens every time I buy a new car.

24 September 2017
Too right. Most of the dealers I've dealt with are just morons. Sit tight and look them in the eye and be prepared to walk if you can't get what you want. They are obsessed with beating the same franchise a few miles away from them.

23 September 2017

That's a very good article, real-world situation alwas beats theoretical. It really needs someone with weight behind them to stop the con that's going on and appeal to the legal authorities because it's simply a downright lie for some manufacturers to claim 'scrappage' or environmental protection when the cars are being sold on - perhaps Greenpeace should be targeting those dealers who incorrectly claim to be removing Euro4 cars off the road rather than brand new clean modern Euro6 diesels?

A couple of points. That 'great' scrappage deal offered by Ford?  Well being a government backed scheme wasn't the only lie the salesman was telling you, Ford don't sell a 125bhp ST-line Focus - if they did, he's simply shifting discounted old stock!

The current car is a 1.0 140bhp ST-Line which Ford themselves are discounting at £18855. (packs would be extra). You could of course go to a broker and buy the brand 140 new car, in metallic black with Navigation, Plus your convenience pack Plus a newer Appearance pack 2 for a grand total of wait for it...  £17749 from an online broker. And that's without scrappage!

There are so many 'cons' with non-government based scrappage schemes it's untrue but another thing to note is that deal where we could buy a Nissan Leaf. (that might please the tree huggers). Can't remember if it was Autocar or another magazine I was reading the other day but it listed the worst depreciating new cars on sale in the UK. Top of the list was the Renault Zoe, 2nd worst car you can buy is a Nissan Leaf !!!   If you want to please your bank manager AND Greenpeace - keep the Astra.

23 September 2017

you can often get 10% to 30% discount on new cars on the web  anyway so depends on vaLUE OF TRADE IN IT WOULD HAVE TO BE A 20 YR OLD BANGER WORTH £200 OR SO TO POSSIBLY GAIN BUT CHECK BEST DIISCOUNTS AVAILABLE FIRST

23 September 2017

​Not a single one of these schemes have anything to do with the environment, its all marketing and of course the UK public are so very easily fooled by marketing. The right and proper thing to do is to retro fit emissions equipment to older cars and carry on using them until they reach the end of their life, not crush them, so the schemes that sell them on are the better ones.

23 September 2017

if the factories stop or slow down too much it costs a fortune, how can we keep them busy? has anything been happening that we could play on? is basically my take on it. the manufacturers should sort out the figures for the production of cars; people can't say they're doing something to improve the environment when they don't know the full story

23 September 2017
Using carwow I have canvassed deals from a variety of Ford and Hyundai dealers.

Firstly I get the Carwow price, then I ask about scrappage.

Not one dealer will offer a scrappage deal in addition to their own price. The Hyundai dealers aren't interested at all and one even told me I would be worse off using the scrappage discount, as I wouldn't get Hyundai's deposit contribution.

Sadly, it just appears to be marketing spin, rather than any manufacturer subsidy.

You can get quite good discounts at the moment for sure, but I don't think you need an old banger to trade in.

24 September 2017
That's strange. I was looking at a VW Golf and the dealer I went to price matched the best car-wow quote I got (£2500 off the rrp) and also took off the £4000 scrappage allowance. Definitely worth haggling on top of the scrappage allowances.

26 September 2017

The UK government has already started the scrappage scheme and it's set to end in 2040. No-one in their right mind should be buying a new car in any case.


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