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Scrappage scheme backed

Lobbying for a scrappage scheme to incentivise consumers into newer cars is on the SMMT’s longer-term agenda.

The initiative has the support of several SMMT members, including Citroën UK. Its managing director, Xavier Duchemin, wrote to SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt urging him to focus on measures to re-energise demand.

Duchemin told AM: “The VAT change is a move in the right direction, but I would like the SMMT to propose more to encourage consumers to buy cars, such as benefits based on CO2 emissions. 

“We need things that consumers can understand and give them the drive to go into dealerships and buy cars. 

“A scrappage scheme would encourage consumers to trade in their old, inefficient cars. It would be good for the environment and economy – everybody.”

The European Commission unveiled a green cars initiative in its recovery plan, which was due before the European Council this week.

The initiative would involve research into energy improvements and financial incentives for consumers to choose a lower emissions vehicle and part-exchange an older, less efficient car.

Everitt, who took his campaign on BBC2’s Newsnight this week, told AM: “It’s something that we will support, but it’s not something that the UK Government is focused on spending money on at the moment, which is going towards things like cuts in VAT. It’s on our agenda though.”

The industry’s campaign for support from government is continuing. 

Last week the SMMT, RMIF and industry figureheads met Lord Mandelson, the business secretary, to discuss trading conditions.

And Richard Burden MP, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Motor Group, has told ministers that a special case must be made to support the motor industry.

“The last thing the industry needs is something
that would appear to be special pleading,” he told AM. 

“However, there are specifics about the motor industry that do not apply elsewhere. 

“It has a huge vulnerability to retail market changes, but has production lead times and capital investment akin to the aerospace industry. 

“We recognise that there should be a specific strategy for the motor industry.”

Burden aims to raise the issue during the Queen’s Speech debate next week.

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