The auto giant is seeking to improve air quality levels in the UK, but has moved beyond incentivising new vehicle purchases by offering drivers discounts to trade in older models registered before December 2009. Ford confirmed that it would accept vehicles from any manufacturer.

Ford’s chairman Andy Barratt said: “Ford shares society’s concerns over air quality. Removing generations of the most polluting vehicles will have the most immediate positive effect on air quality, and this Ford scrappage scheme aims to do just that.

“We don’t believe incentivising sales of new cars goes far enough and we will ensure that all trade-in vehicles are scrapped. Acting together we can take hundreds of thousands of the dirtiest cars off our roads and out of our cities.”

Transport Secretary Chris Graylng welcomed the announcement and urged others to implement similar initiatives; although the Government has distanced itself from a national rollout of the scheme in previous months.

Despite public backing for a national diesel scrappage scheme, the Government has yet to commit to a targeted diesel scrappage scheme. As part of the recently-released Air Quality Plan, it has been reported that the Government will be consulting on a scrappage scheme to encourage people to switch to cleaner vehicles later this year, but no date has been set so far.

Ford claim that combining the scrappage incentive with current discount offers for new vehicles, consumers could save up to £4,000 on a car or £7,000 on a van. Unlike similar schemes from other manufacturers, Ford has extended the initiative to accept petrol cars.

Short-term movements

In the past few weeks a number of car makers have announced unique versions of a scrappage scheme for older diesel vehicles.

BMW announced earlier this month that drivers trading in older BMWs and Minis would be offered a £1,800 discount on a BMW i3 or a Euro 6 vehicle with CO2 emissions up to 130g/km. BMW’s scheme is available for owners of vehicles that meet Euro 4 standards of less – essentially most cars registered before 2005.

Mercedes-Benz extended its scrappage scheme in Germany to account for the UK and European markets, offering a £2,000 discount off new vehicles – including electric vehicles (EVs) – when a Euro 1-4 car is traded-in. Like the Ford deal, Mercedes is offering the discount until the end of 2017.

Vauxhall was one of the first large auto manufacturers to offer a diesel scrappage scheme in the UK. Launched in May 2017, the deal offered customers £2,000 towards new Vauxhall vehicles. However, that scrappage programme only covered new models ordered and registered before 30 June 2017.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan is an avid believer in the potential of a diesel scrappage scheme. He claimed that a scheme would reduce London’s road transport nitrogen oxide emissions by around 40% and generate more than £500m for the economy.

Commenting on the numerous scrappage announcements, ClientEarth – the law firm embroiled in a legal battle with the Government over air pollution levels – lawyer Anna Heslop said: “It seems the motor industry is finally waking up to the damage dirty diesels are doing to our lungs as well as their own reputation.

“What we need is a thought-through, coherent strategy from government to help people to move to cleaner and more sustainable technology. At the moment, there are pockets of small, short-term actions here and there, but nothing like the joined-up thinking we need to solve this problem.”

Matt Mace

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