A Guide to Car Scrappage Schemes

You may have heard about car scrappage schemes, without fully understanding what they’re all about. Or, you might be after some advice on the best scrappage schemes currently available. Either way, read on for lots of useful information on what they are, why they’re available, and the best ones out there right now. 

What are car scrappage schemes? 

Governments and car manufacturers offer scrappage schemes to encourage drivers to trade in their old car for a new one. Incentives usually take the form of a discount off a new model, when you trade in an older – but still functioning – one. You don’t have to own the same make of car you want to buy next in order to take advantage of a scrappage scheme, and the popularity of the schemes has seen manufacturers extend their programmes beyond their initial expiry dates. 

Why do we have car scrappage schemes? 

Following a fall in the sales of new cars around the turn of the millennium, scrappage schemes were introduced in order to encourage motorists to buy new. The UK government committed an initial £300 million to its own scheme back in 2009, and manufacturers continue to offer incentives to their customers. As well as stimulating sales, scrappage schemes also aim to help reduce pollution levels. As the motor industry moves towards a cleaner, greener future, this environmentally-friendly aspect of scrappage schemes has become a key issue. 

Will a car scrappage scheme benefit me? 

This depends on what car you have, and the model you’re interested in buying. Scrappage schemes can offer you more money for your used car than it’s actually worth. If, for example, you drive an old model that has little value on the used car market, you may be tempted to run it into the ground. Instead of keeping your car until it’s beyond repair, you could take advantage of a scrappage scheme to get some money off a new model. It’s a win for you, a win for the new car industry, and a win for the environment too. 

However, if your car’s worth more than the discount on offer for a new vehicle, a scrappage scheme may not be for you. You’ll probably be better off part-exchanging your old car, or selling it privately or to a dealer, and putting the money you get towards your next car. Sometimes you might find a scheme that offers you the trade-in value of your car, plus an extra scrappage discount, so this can be something to look out for. 

Is my car eligible for scrappage? 

This varies between manufacturers, so it’s best to check when you have an idea of which new car you’d like to go for. Most schemes are only open to cars that are more than seven years old and fall foul of the latest Euro 5 emissions regulations. Also, you’ll need to have owned your car for at least 90 days, although this can be as much as six months with some schemes. 

What are the best car scrappage schemes? 

At the moment, lots of different manufacturers are offering incentives to help you get into a new car. These include: 

Audi

If you’ve had a diesel car for more than six months which was registered before 1st January 2010, you could qualify for Audi’s scrappage scheme. The German giant is offering between £2,000 and £8,000 off their new cars, with the highest discount available on the Audi Q7 e-tron. You could trade in your old car for £4,000 off an A3 or Q5, or £6,000 off an A4 saloon or estate. The discount even applies to the new electric A3 Sportback e-tron, which has £5,000 knocked off under the scrappage scheme. You can trade in any brand of car with an emissions rating from Euro 1 to Euro 4, with all models traded in consigned to the scrap heap. 

BMW

BMW was a frontrunner when it came to offering discounts for trade-ins, and they offer up to £2,000 for your car, on top of its residual value. Your car must comply with Euro 4 emissions standards or lower, with the cut-off date being September 2009. You can put the value of your discount towards any BMW or MINI with the latest Euro 6 emissions limits and CO2 emissions of under 130g/km. This means that around 80% of the BMW range qualifies for the discount, and 70% of the current MINI offering. However, it’s important to note that BMW won’t necessarily scrap your car, essentially if it’s worth their while to sell it on for a decent profit. 

Mercedes

The Mercedes programme is similar to BMW’s, in that you can get £2,000 off a new car when you trade in an older diesel that you’ve owned for at least six months. However, if you decide to go for an electric Smart car, the discount is only £1,000. If you’re sticking to Mercedes, you can put the bonus towards a new hybrid, electric or diesel model, while you can use the discount alongside other incentives the manufacturer offers. 

Toyota

Toyota are offering double what you can get with Mercedes on certain models. The Japanese carmaker are operating a sliding scale like Audi, with £4,000 off a new Land Cruiser. You could get £2,500 off a Yaris, £3,500 off an Auris, or £1,000 off a C-HR. To qualify for the bonus, your car must have been registered on or before 31st December 2009, and you need to have owned it for six months or more. 

Volkswagen

Just like with other leading marques, VW’s scrappage scheme applies to older diesel vehicles. And it is a genuine scrappage scheme, as all cars traded in are scrapped. You could get £4,000 off the hugely popular Golf hatchback, or half of that amount on a Polo. The Passat has received a £5,000 scrappage allowance, while the Sharan sees the highest incentive at £6,000. 


Even though some of the discounts on offer look very attractive, you should still weigh up whether a scrappage scheme is best for you. Get a good idea of your current car’s resale value, which will allow you to calculate if the bonuses you can get on a new model are worth it. If you’d like to have a chat with us about the current scrappage schemes on offer across our brands, pop into your nearest Inchcape dealership and we’ll be happy to help.