Volkswagen offers €8,000 scrappage bonuses to German motorists
VW says scheme is incentive to switch to cleaner vehicles and not ‘about selling new cars’
Environment groups in Germany, who have launched successful air quality lawsuits across the country, attacked the programme as a “stimulus plan for VW”. Photograph: Reuters
Volkswagen has announced scrappage bonuses of up to €8,000 to German motorists to shake off the diesel crisis, avoid inner city diesel bans – and sell some new cars at the same time.
The total bonus depends on the residual value of the car and where its owner lives. The first bonus applies to any brand of car with the emissions standards Euro-1 to Euro-4 that is traded in for a new vehicle from the VW group: Volkswagen, Seat, Skoda and Audi.
Additional bonuses will apply to for owners of Euro-4 or Euro-6 cars in 14 German municipalities facing diesel bans.
“With the environment and exchange bonus, we are presenting strong incentives to switch to a cleaner vehicle of the latest generation,” said Jürgen Stackmann, VW group head of sales. “With this Volkswagen is making a further, significant contribution to the improvement of air quality and avoidance of possible driving bans in German cities.”
Unlike Porsche, a VW subsidiary that has sworn off diesel, Mr Stackmann said the group still believed in the modern diesel engine. Its low fuel consumption made what he called an “important contribution in the battle against climate change”.
A previous VW scrappage scheme, running between August 2018 and last June, saw 210,000 older diesel vehicles taken off the road. The company claims that this, along with software updates for still-operational vehicles, has seen a saving of more than 10,000 tonnes of nitrogen dioxide annually in Germany.
This helps those who were already going to buy a new car and are able to afford it
Environment groups in Germany, who have launched successful air quality lawsuits across the country, attacked the programme as a “stimulus plan for VW”.
“This is about selling new cars,” said Jürgen Resch of the environmental lobby group DUH. It is pushing for hardware retrofits on older cars, but the industry is lukewarm on this approach, and Berlin says it has no legal means to force refits.
“This helps those who were already going to buy a new car and are able to afford it,” said Stefan Bratzel, an industry commentator.
Other car companies in Germany have already presented their own purchase bonuses. BMW says it will give a discount of up to €6,000 for a new car in one of the 14 cities with particularly polluted air.
Foreign-owned car companies have got in on the act, too, in Germany. Renault promises discounts of up to €10,000 for a new car bought in exchange for a Euro-5 diesel. Ford and Fiat are offering up to €8,000 and €6,000 respectively.
VW’s bonus programme attracted mixed reviews on Thursday. The Süddeutsche Zeitung daily pointed out that the scheme’s staggered bonus structure discriminated against drivers of cars outside the most-polluted German cities.
“Everyone who bought a diesel car, assuming they had acquired an environmentally friendly vehicle, were conned knowingly by VW,” it said. “They didn’t get for their money what they were promised . . . and the resulting damage is independent of whether the air quality where they live is bad or particularly bad.”