The sheer scale of the carnage that was wreaked on some incredible motors during the 2009 car scrappage scheme has been exposed in a recent document that has been generated by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). The record was made public in response to a freedom of information claim and it makes for sorry reading when you discover what vehicles have been lost forever. The list is a complete breakdown of the makes and models of all of the 392,227 cars that ended up going to the scrap yard in return for a £2,000 discount off the purchase of a new car.
Many car enthusiasts might look at the list and decide that some of them would have made more money for the owner if they had done the sensible thing and sold them on the open market. Such great motors as the BMW 2002, Audi Quattro 20V and Morgan 4/4 Convertible appear on the list and as all the cars scrapped had to have a current MoT, they were in theory roadworthy. It is therefore hard to believe how some enthusiasts could have chosen to destroy something they must have loved at some stage as all the vehicles had to have been owned by the person doing the scrapping for at least a year.
When adding up which cars ended their days at the scrap yard, we see that 101 Porsches were to bite the dust and these were split between 944s and 924s, but also three 928s. Other wonderful cars that were scrapped included a Triumph Dolomite Sprint, nine Triumph Spitfires and a number of MG Midgets.
There were 731 Jaguars destroyed, including a huge 45 Jaguar XJSs and it’s a sad fact that cars, which will be loved one day in the future, were crushed. It’s also a shame that the scheme quickened the downfall of motors that weren’t particularly popular, such as the Skoda 130, the Peugeot 505 GTI family and the Mitsubishi Tredia.
However, there were also vehicles that were scrapped that had become or would surely have become classics. The Honda Integra R, Ford Capri 3000 Ghia, Lancia Delta HF, Lancia Beta Spyder, Mercedes 560 SEC and Fiat X1/9, of which there were eleven, all bit the dust.
It is important to say that the scrappage scheme was important in that it helped to pull the UK car industry out of the doldrums, especially after sales in November 2008 slumped by 36 per cent compared to the previous November. The cars scrapped in the scheme accounted for around a fifth of all the cars that were sold during that 10-month period, which cost the government £400 million.
Unsurprisingly, the majority of those that scrapped their cars mainly went for budget cars, with the biggest winner being Hyundai, who managed to sell 47,000 cars thanks to the scheme, 26,000 of which were the Japanese company’s i10 city car.
Other cars of the almost 400,000 motors that went to the breakers were many of the euro hatchbacks, including over 150 Minis, 14 Citroen 2CVs and one original Fiat 500. It is amazing to think that many of these cars were the trailblazers for small, lightweight cars for simply getting about, so to see so many of them being recycled for scrap, looks like a missed opportunity.
Not only could these older vehicles have been a valuable source for spare parts, if all else fails, they could have been upgraded too. For example, Fiat recently teamed up with the kitchen appliance manufacturer Smeg to transform some of the old cars into fridges. The car is the front end of a classic Fiat 500, whilst in the boot space now sits a fridge!
Scrappage schemes have often been described as environmentally friendly as they help to get older vehicles off the roads by recycling them and replacing them with the latest models. However, studies have found that they in fact have a relatively high cost per tonne of pollution avoided.
The British scheme, which has cost the tax payer £400m, made the assumption that the new car would be less polluting than the one it had replaced, but completely overlooked the environmental impact of scrapping the old car and manufacturing the new motor. It is true that at the time the UK car industry was struggling, but the scrappage scheme destroyed many cars that had plenty of life left in them. From an environmental perspective, sending them for scrap heap was akin to pouring money down the drain.
You can even question the economic arguments put forward by the government after a study by a German economics institute criticised the scrappage schemes for how they distort competition, create the requirement for further state intervention and encourage compensatory measures in other areas of the economy.
Research by the Halle Institute for Economic Research revealed findings of a previous German scrappage scheme, which said ‘Behind these payments stands nothing more than the subsidising of an individual branch of the economy, with all the negative distorting effect that such favourable treatment brings’
Whether it was a good thing or a bad thing from an environmental point of view, we keep going back to the fact that many a wonderful car was scrapped when it needn’t have been and the list is there to prove it. However, a word of warning before going to search the document; the typing of the names of the cars was pretty awful. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills blames the manufacturers for this, but how many ways is it possible to spell Citroen incorrectly. There was evidence of Cireon, Citeon, Citoeon, Citreon, Citron, Cittoen and even for a Ford Fista Encore.