Ford is the latest car company to launch an incentive for UK consumers to trade in cars over seven years old, by offering £2,000 off some new models.Unlike schemes by BMW and Mercedes, which are only for diesels, Ford will also accept petrol cars.Ford said all of the part-exchanged vehicles will be scrapped, having an immediate effect on air quality.Campaigners said it was a step in the right direction but the government had to do more.Under Ford’s scheme old cars, from any manufacturer, can be exchanged until the end of December.”Part of a journey”Speaking on the BBC’s Today programme, Andy Barratt, chairman and managing director of Ford of Britain, said its scrappage scheme “is part of a journey” to improve air quality.”We have some pretty large incentives here, up to £7,000 if you have a commercial transit vehicle,” he said.”We’re the only scheme open to commercials. It is part of a journey.”Air quality is a much bigger debate and getting older vehicles off the road is part of that.”New technology, such as plug-in hybrids etc, are all part of that longer journey we need to work together.”The government’s clean air strategy announced in July did not include a scrappage scheme, although it proposed a consultation on it later in the year. Instead, it said new diesel and petrol cars would be banned from 2040. It made the announcement after losing a case against environmental law campaigners ClientEarth over breaches in EU emissions standards.ClientEarth lawyer Anna Heslop welcomed Ford’s scheme but said it could not make up for lack of action by the government.”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.”Waking upConsumers will be given £2,000 off new Ford models ranging in price from about £12,000 to more than £20,000. Ford said that by combining the scrappage incentive with other standard offers, customers could receive up to £4,000 off a car or £7,000 off the cost of a van. The cars that can be traded in include any built to emissions standards that applied before 2010.Vauxhall ran a similar scrappage scheme earlier this year, as well as in 2015 and 2016.Ford, BMW, Vauxhall and Mercedes sell around one million cars in the UK.The scrappage schemes will help support sales at a time when demand for new cars is beginning to show signs of a sustained drop for the first time in around six years. In July, new car registrations fell for the fourth consecutive month in a row, hit by a number of factors including uncertainty over Brexit, and lack of clarity over future government plans around new levies on diesel models.
Analysis: Richard Westcott, BBC transport correspondentNo-one could accuse the car industry of rushing to solve air pollution.Manufacturers have long been accused of dragging their heels over plans to tighten the legal emissions test.And for years, they happily sold cars that they knew were far more polluting on real roads than in the official lab test.But companies are now taking the initiative with old car scrappage schemes.Ford is the latest to offer a plan, and their version insists that the older, polluting car is destroyed rather than resold.But the offer is only open until the end of December. And let’s be frank, it is also an attempt to boost sales which have been flagging across the industry for the past four months.It’s hard to see it making a big dent in the dirty air problem.ClientEarth lawyer Anna Heslop added: “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.”
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