Desperate times need desperate measures, so Ford’s assessment today that a UK scrapping incentive for new car buyers could have a big effect on the car market is worth considering, particularly as the 2009 Budget approaches.

The key stat is that France, Germany and Italy all now have subsidy schemes to encourage new car buyers to trade in bangers.

The result? January car markets in those three countries declined by less than half of the UK’s shocking 33 per cent collapse.

Read more about Ford’s call for trade-in incentives

Spain is another country lacking a scrapping incentive. Its sales plummeted by a whopping 50 per cent in January. Ford is also suggesting that the Spanish government should introduce something similar, fast.

Germany’s incentive is aimed at cars over nine years old, which has the added advantage of taking more polluting and less safe cars off the streets.

Mind you, a scheme that empties the UK of pre-2000 cars probably won’t be welcomed by every car fan. Still, automotive sentiment aside, the prospect of saving jobs in car factories, dealers and design centres is definitely worth pursuing.