One for the scrap book

We’ve seen an awful lot of mainstream press talking about the evils of diesel over the past year or so.

We’ve seen an awful lot of mainstream press talking about the evils of diesel over the past year or so. Some of this coverage has been problematic, in that it hasn’t distinguished between older diesel vehicles and newer, cleaner models.

At the same time, there has been lots of noise coming from politicians around the world suggesting anti-diesel measures could be introduced (such as a fee for using them in some urban areas).

All this has begun to affect diesel car sales, and these have really taken a hit in 2017 in the UK. How low diesel sales will go nobody really knows, and there are still some examples where diesel fuel makes more economic sence than their petrol and electric brethren.

Part of the problem has come from a credibility gap that has grown between what manufacturers say their cars can do, and what people believe. There are lots of people who simply don’t trust the mile per gallon figure, or the emissions figures given with cars.

As an industry we haven’t really helped ourselves in this regard, but with new ‘real world’ testing coming into force, hopefully this gap will shrink as time goes by.

The plight of diesel cars has occurred in a background of generally slowing new car sales. Clearly manufacturers put two and two together to recognise a bit of a marketing opportunity here to try and get people to ditch their older vehicles in return for a new one.

One interesting point is that in some cases it was possible to buy an older car for just a few hundred pounds, and then 90 days later use them as part of a scrappage scheme knocking thousands off the headline price of the new vehicles.

I’ll be interested to see what sort of statistics this results in, and how many people who are driving cars from before 2010 are looking to upgrade to a brand new vehicle. As someone currently in a 2011 vehicle, I guess I’ll get to make that decision for myself in the next year or so!

Another interesting question this raises is over the extent this will influence governmental policty. A central scrappage scheme akin to the one run in the recession has been rumoured for a while now. We don’t know how seriously the government is debating this as an option, but if they were will the fact that manufacturers are seemingly happy to take the hit on this one disuade those in charge from taking further steps?

New car sales seemed to be flat lining in the middle of the year, and during this time, a lot of comments basically come down to ‘let’s wait and see how September turns out.’

With £2,000 and up being offered off of new cars and interest rates still at rock bottom, it seems unlikely that circumstances could have been much kinder to September. What kind of impact all this has on car sales for the month, only time will tell.