LONDON - Ford Tuesday became the latest carmaker to launch a car scrappage scheme in Britain, joining the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz, after months of procrastination from the government over whether to begin a national program.
The U.S. automaker is offering customers a 2,000 pound ($2,580) discount off a range of Ford models when they trade in vehicles registered before the end of 2009.
BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Vauxhall, the British version of the Opel brand sold on the continent, have all launched similar schemes in recent weeks to incentivize motorists to reduce emissions by replacing their gas-guzzling models with greener cars.
The plans come after Britain delayed in July a decision over whether to introduce a nationwide or targeted vehicle scrappage scheme, with a consultation due to take place later this year, despite worries over emissions levels.
“Ford shares society’s concerns over air quality,” its managing director in Britain Andy Barratt said Tuesday.
“Removing generations of the most polluting vehicles will have the most immediate positive effect on air quality.”
Car sales slowing
Ford, BMW, Vauxhall and Mercedes sell around 1 million cars in Britain, more than a third of all new car registrations.
The scrappage schemes will help support sales at a time when demand for new cars is beginning to slide substantially for the first time in around six years.
In July, new car registrations fell for the fourth consecutive month, hit by a number of factors including uncertainty over Brexit and lack of clarity over future government plans around new levies on diesel models.
Britain’s last government-backed scrappage scheme came in the wake of the financial crisis and ran for nearly a year from mid-2009, helping to support the car sector, which had been hit by nose-diving sales.