Why the scrappage scheme made Mike Brewer cry

Hyundai and Rover scrappage

The government has ruled out a new car scrappage scheme that would have given motorists up to £6,000 off the price of a new electric car. Or has it?

A letter seen by The Times appears to leave the door ajar for such a scheme. Rachel Maclean, junior minister for Transport and the Environment, said: “The government has no plans at this stage to introduce a scrappage scheme”.

No plans at this stage. Things could change. Which is worrying news for the classic car industry.

A total of 392,227 cars were lost to the 2009 scrappage scheme. Many were run-of-the-mill hatchbacks, saloons and estates worth significantly less than the £2,000 scrappage discount.

Others were rare, desirable, certified classics and, in some cases, worth more than £2,000. 

When you see names like Alpina B7, Audi Quattro, BMW M5, Lancia Fulvia, Nissan Skyline, Porsche 928 and Renault Clio Williams on the official list of cars lost to scrappage, it’s enough to make you cry.

Ford Ka and Mondeo scrappage

Some people shed actual tears. Speaking with Hagerty, Mike Brewer, host of Wheeler Dealers, shared his experience of scrappage. “I wept during the first scrappage scheme,” he remembers.

“My local Citroen dealer had a 6,000 mile MG Metro. It looked like someone had just peeled the cellophane off it – and it was being scrapped.

“That broke my heart. I could see why the scheme was there to keep the industry going but there were profits to be had by offering people the opportunity to buy them.

“If scrappage is coming back, I will do a personal plea to everyone out there who’s got a car like that MG and is thinking that they might scrap it in exchange for two grand to contact me first!”

A fairer scrappage scheme

Hagerty is the latest name to add its weight to calls for a scrappage scheme that takes the views of the classic car industry into account. 

Last month, Parkers editor Keith Adams made a “few heartfelt pleas to the car industry and manufacturers” to avoid making the “same mistakes as before”.

This was a view shared by PetrolBlog. “It’s time to fight for a fairer scrappage scheme. It’s time to fight for our old cars.”

The report on Hagerty’s website says we lost an entire generation of 20-30 year old classics. Mike Brewer claims we’re suffering the effects of that today.

“It certainly drove up prices of those classic cars which were left behind. Values have been rising at 15 percent a year pretty consistently ever since. We are now at a point where we see Ford Sierra Cosworths being sold at auction for £155,000.

“That’s great if you own one of these, but there is all this value in cars which have been left on an airfield to rot or were recycled into bean cans. That’s not great for anyone.”

‘Good cars aren’t wasted’

Nissan Micra scrappage

The government would be keen to distance itself from a scheme that allows older, more polluting vehicles to be saved when it is under pressure to improve air quality and encourage the purchase of electric cars.

Maybe a guaranteed trade-in allowance would work better than scrappage. Alternatively, give dealers the opportunity to sell or auction the condemned cars for spares, repair or restoration. Mike Brewer has an idea.

“Maybe there is a way that it could work. The government could give the dealer 14 days after the car comes in to refund the £2,000 if they think they can sell it on.

“If they dispose of the car for a profit, it’s brilliant for everyone and the good cars aren’t wasted.”

What are your thoughts on a new scrappage scheme? Let us know in the comments below.

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