Good riddance to scrappage say traders

The last rites have been read to the UK car scrappage scheme but not everyone will be mourning its passing.

As Autoblog reported yesterday, the initiative, which sees the government and car manufacturers club together to offer £2,000 off a new car when you crush your 10-year-old motor, comes to an end this month.

But although it's helped 355,000 motorists buy a new vehicle and thrown a lifeline to the car industry, not everyone has been impressed.

Take used car dealers for a start. There are thousands across the country that used to deal in these 'pre-loved' vehicles and who have suddenly seen their stock supply dry up.

On Wednesday we reported how the last 50,000 orders were being divvied up between manufacturers which drew a number of comments from readers.

One, a used car dealer, said: 'The scrappage scheme has been great for the people with enough money to buy a brand new car and, of course, the hugely rich motor manufacturers. But it is very bad for the poorer people and used car dealers like me.

"People used to trade up from a real banger to a car 10 years old – this was new to them and something they could afford without getting deeply in debt.

"My experience of the scheme is that tens of thousands of 10 and 11-year-old cars which, don't forget, must have an MoT, have been crushed. It is having a big impact on sellers like me who specialise in cars under £2,000 as there simply isn't any stock."

And he's not alone – dealers have been queuing up to tell Autoblog how happy they are to see the back of the scheme.

Barrie Crampton, a used car dealer from Preston, told us: "I have been in the trade for 30 years and in my experience the people who can afford to jump from a 10-year-old car into a new one are the sort of people who could afford to keep their car well maintained.

These cars have now been scrapped and would have been the mainstay of my business."

The scrappage scheme was designed to invigorate interest in car buying in the middle of a recession. Around 800,000 people are employed directly or indirectly by the automotive industry in the UK and by stimulating demand, the government hoped this would trickle down to all branches of the trade.

No one could doubt that it did achieve its goal – car sales at franchised dealers have been kept in the black as a direct result of the scheme – but the problem has been the roadworthy and retailable cars that have been crushed thus removing 350,000 vehicles from the supply chain that would have stocked the forecourts of small independent traders.

However, even some leasing specialists have spoken out against the scheme. Ling Valentine, owner of and one-time star of Dragon's Den, called the scheme a 'disaster'.

"Yes, new car registrations increased with the inception of the initiative. However, it was the worst year for the motor industry in 14 years, so they could hardly of got worse," she explained.

And car supermarket giant Motorpoint has also been against the scheme since the start.

Managing director David Shelton told Autoblog: "While we fully support efforts to create a thriving car industry, we believe the use of taxpayer's money to subsidise car manufacturers and their dealer networks is nothing short of electioneering."

It seems that even in its dying days, the UK scrappage scheme still has the potential to stir up debate.
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