We hear the words scheme and scrappage mentioned so often at the moment, I reckon its odds on that you and I will soon be subsidising the European and Japanese car industries with our hard-earned.
Although it sometimes seems that the government despises the motor industry, it is only just beginning to realise that rather a lot of livelihoods depend on the manufacture and sale of cars.
Their normal reaction would be to poke us with sticks in a showroom -like direction, but instead all the panicking company car bosses are pleading for them to go a bit softer and bribe us with our own money.
As I regularly point out in my Autocar column, One Careful Owner, it isn’t very difficult to get £2000 off just about anything at the moment, and that includes a brand new Golf. So won’t those discounts disappear or be absorbed somehow into any new, government-approved price drop?
I can see dealers using the scheme as the perfect excuse not to discount at all, pointing to a big poster from the Dept of Transport and the Environment saying “£2k for your old banger”. It will work, too, because I get so many people calling me to ask where they can get any discounts.
Of course the argument is that all this won’t actually get the UK car market turning over again, it will only help pay a sales executive’s salary, some business rates, and a bit of VAT. Because quite a lot of the cash of each car sold goes to those who actually make the cars, in Europe or Japan.
So if we are going to have a scrappage scheme, I suggest that there needs to be some strings attached.
The strings would be that only UK-built cars qualify, so those models made by Honda, Nissan, Toyota and the JLRs of this world. Obviously it should also apply to Morgan, Bristol, Caterham and Ariel too.
I say scrap any government backed scrappage schemes. Manufacturers should discount their way out of this and then have a big rethink. It’s not our fault and, to paraphrase Mr Brown, I don’t think we should reward failure.