When the scrappage scheme was announced in the Budget on April 22, Autocar was inundated with off-the-record conversations with manufacturers saying that the scheme was unfair and unworkable.
The chief bones of contention were that the government would only supply half of the £2000 grant, with the manufacturer paying the other £1000, and that the discount had to apply to every car in a manufacturer’s range.
Such was the griping and fury, it was even – briefly – mooted that the manufacturers could join up in rebellion, and refuse to have any part of the government’s scheme. Supermini manufacturers were particularly vocal, saying they didn’t even make £1000 profit per car.
Yet here we are, little more than three weeks and a couple of clear-the-air chats between the manufacturers and the government later, and every one of the major manufacturers has fallen in line and signed up for the scheme.
Suddenly, it seems, they are all happy to hand over £1000 in exchange for a car sale, be it a large luxury saloon or a supermini. Whatever its shortcomings, it seems that chancellor Alistair Darling’s tax payer funded grant has proved generous enough for them to see it as a benefit to the bottom line.
In this instance it seems the chancellor has judged the level of the tax payer’s input just right – and is justified in demanding the manufacturers shoulder their half of the subsidy.