2018 Diesel scrappage schemes

Up to £8,000 on offer for old cars under new diesel scrappage schemes: plus latest news on the government's scrappage plans

Dominic Tobin
Jan 19, 2018

Drivers of older diesel cars have been given a reprieve, with a second chance to ditch their car and get thousands of pounds off a new petrol or diesel car - but only for a few more weeks.

More than a dozen manufacturers have extended their scrappage schemes into 2018, including VolkswagenMercedesAudi and Mini. These are some of the brands that accept only diesel trade-ins. Other car makers will accept petrol and diesel models. In most cases, you'll need a car that's over seven years old to take advantage of scrappage, but it doesn't matter who made it - all of the schemes accept vehicles from any manufacturer.

The manufacturer scrappage schemes are explained in detail further down the page but they won't suit all owners. If your current car is worth much more than £1,500, then you may be better off part-exchanging it and taking advantage of the non-scrappage deals on offer. Buying a used car or nearly-new model may well work out to be cheaper as well. You can see more detailed advice in our guide to scrappage deals    

then ask about scrappage

    

Car manufacturer diesel scrappage schemes

Diesel scrappage schemes are targeted at diesel cars that don't meet modern emissions standards (known as Euro 5 and 6), for a discount on a new, cleaner model.

The emissions standard that your car meets may be shown on your vehicle's registration document. if not, the manufacturer should be able to tell you. Diesel owners can also take advantage of Ford and Vauxhall's scrappage schemes which are open to petrol and diesel owners.

All of the schemes will accept cars made by other manufacturers but do stipulate that you must have owned the car for a minimum period, which ranges from 90 days to a year.

Audi diesel scrappage scheme

Offer £2,000 to £8,000 discount
Trade-in requirements Diesel cars registered before January 1, 2010, which don't meet Euro 5 or 6 emissions standards
New cars available Most of the Audi range, apart from the A8, R8, RS models and diesel Q7s  
Deadline Order before March 31, 2018. Register by June 30, 2018

Audi is providing hefty incentives under its scrappage scheme, with the maximum £8,000 off the price of the hybrid Q7 e-tron. It's not a bad saving - but it's not clear how many owners of tired, old cars will be able to afford the discounted price of £59,560.

More useful is the generous £2,800 that Audi will cut from the price of a small A1. That's considerably better than the standard Audi A1 offer, cutting the price of the entry-level car to £12,760 and making finance much more affordable. There's also £4,000 off the new Q5 SUV and £6,000 off the A4. The scrappage scheme is less interesting for potential Audi A3 buyers: the £4,000 discount is not much better than current Audi offers.

Unlike diesel scrappage schemes offered by Mercedes, BMW and Mini, you won't also get the trade-in value of your current car. If it's worth much more than £1,500, then you may get a better deal by part-exchanging it and taking up the standard Audi discounts, including low-rate finance, which aren't all available under scrappage.

then ask about scrappage

Nearly new & used cars without scrappage

    

BMW diesel scrappage scheme

Also known as BMW Lower Emissions Allowance

Offer £2,000 discount plus your car's trade-in value
Trade-in requirements Diesel cars that only meet Euro 4 regulations or earlier (most cars sold before 2011)
New cars available BMWs with CO2 emissions of less than 130g/km
Deadline Register by March 31, 2018

BMW owns Mini, so it's no surprise that the two brands have identical scrappage schemes. As long as you've owned your diesel car for at least 12 months, and it only meets Euro 4 emissions standards (or earlier), then you'll be eligible for £2,000 off a new BMW, plus your car's trade-in value. You're restricted to cars with CO2 emissions of 130g/km or less, but this includes a vast selection of cars, including the small 1 Series, electric i3, new 5 Series and luxurious 7 Series.

BMW is promoting its lease deals that are available in conjunction with scrappage, which are likely to be most affordable for drivers of older cars. Assuming your trade-in can cover the initial payment of almost £4,500, a four-year lease on a diesel BMW 1 Series will cost from £155 a month.

Search BMW deals

          

Mercedes diesel scrappage scheme

Also known as Mercedes changeover bonus

Offer £2,000 discount plus your car's trade-in value (£1,000 for Smart)
Trade-in requirements Diesel cars that only meet Euro 4 regulations or earlier (most cars sold before 2011)
New cars available Mercedes diesel and plug-in hybrid cars; Smart Electric car
Deadline Register car by June 31, 2018

If you're looking for a petrol Mercedes, then this is not the scheme for you: you'll only be able to trade-in your Euro 4 or earlier car for a diesel or plug-in hybrid model. Alternatively, you can opt for the Smart Electric Drive, which only comes with a £1,000 discount.

Mercedes will pay your car's trade-in value on top of the £2,000 discount (find a fair price using our valuation calculator), which makes this scheme much more attractive for owners of cars that are still worth a few thousand pounds. You can also use existing offers, which could add up to savings of more than £10,000 on an entry-level Mercedes C-Class diesel. Prices for the A-Class start at around £18,000 when the discount is applied. You'll need to have owned your existing car for at least six months.

then ask about scrappage

Nearly new & used cars without scrappage

                 

Mini diesel scrappage scheme

Also known as Mini Lower Emissions Allowance

Offer £2,000 discount plus your car's trade-in value
Trade-in requirements Diesel cars that only meet Euro 4 regulations or earlier (most cars sold before 2011)
New cars available Minis with CO2 emissions of less than 130g/km
Deadline Register car by March 31, 2018
Apply for deal (include current car registration and desired new model)

Mini's scrappage scheme offers a £2,000 discount towards most of the brand new Mini range plus your car's trade-in value (make sure it's a fair price using our valuation calculator), which can add up to an affordable finance package.

You'll need to have a car that only meets Euro 4 emissions regulations or earlier. In a bid to pitch its scheme as exceptionally green, you are only able to obtain the scrappage discount against brand new Minis with CO2 emissions of under 131g/km. But as this includes the popular Mini Cooper Hatchback (starting at around £14,000 including the discount), as well as petrol and diesel versions of the Mini ClubmanConvertible and Countryman, you shouldn't feel too restricted.

As an example of the price you might pay, Mini says that the saving reduces the cost of leasing a Mini Hatchback to less than £130 a month, but that does require an initial payment of just under £2,800 - which could swallow most, if not all, of your trade-in value. You'll also need to have owned your current car for at least a year.

Search Mini deals

            

Seat diesel scrappage scheme

Offer £1,500 to £3,000 discount
Trade-in requirements Diesel cars registered before January 1, 2010, which don't meet Euro 5 or 6 emissions standards
New cars available Mii, Ibiza, Leon, Toledo
Deadline Order by March 31 2018, register car by June 30, 2018

Ignore the scrappage saving of £1,500 on the Mii city car (you can get a better deal with standard Seat Mii offers) and Seat's scrappage scheme looks fairly attractive, especially if your current car is worth very little. It must only meet Euro 4 emissions standards, or earlier, and have been owned by you for at least six months.

The Ibiza supermini and Leon family hatchback are among the best cars in their class, and are available with £2,500 and £3,500 savings respectively. However, as you don't get anything extra to reflect your car's trade-in value, it's worth getting a second quote, comparing the cost of part-exchanging your car and buying it with a non-scrappage deal. 

then ask about scrappage

Nearly new & used cars without scrappage

            

Skoda diesel scrappage scheme

Offer £1,500 to £4,000 discount
Trade-in requirements Diesel cars registered before January 1, 2010, which don't meet Euro 5 or 6 emissions standards
New cars available Skoda range, apart from Kodiaq
Deadline Order by March 31 2018, register car by June 30, 2018

As Skoda offers a set scrappage incentive, without anything extra to account for the value of the car that you're trading in, then this scheme is better the less your current car is worth. 

In fact, if your vehicle is worth £1,000 or more, then it's wise to get a second quote for part-exchanging it and getting a new Skoda outside of the scrappage scheme, as there are already some generous discounts on popular models, which aren't all available if you take advantage of the scrappage discounts. In some cases, these existing savings almost match the £2,500 off a Fabia, £3,500 off an Octavia and £4,000 off a Superb, which are among the scrappage offers. You'll need to have owned your current car for at least six months.

then ask about scrappage

Nearly new & used cars without scrappage

      

Volkswagen diesel scrappage scheme

Offer £1,800, to £6,000 discount
Trade-in requirements Diesel cars registered before January 1, 2010, which don't meet Euro 5 or 6 emissions standards
New cars available All Volkswagen range, except for Touareg
Deadline Order by April 2 2018, register car by June 30, 2018

Volkswagen hasn't just launched a scrappage scheme to sell cars - it's another stage in the carmaker's rehabilitation after the 'dieselgate' revelation that it had cheated emissions tests and sold cars that emitted high levels of harmful pollutants.

So it may not be a surprise that the discounts available are fairly large, including £4,000 off the recently updated Golf, £5,000 off the Passat (saloon and estate), as well as £4,000 of the popular Tiguan. For low-emissions motoring, there's also a £5,000 discount off the price of the Golf GTE plug-in hybrid.

As with the schemes from Volkswagen's sister companies, Audi, Skoda and Seat, you won't get anything extra for the car you're trading in, so the scheme is most attractive if your current car (which must only meet Euro 4 emissions regulations or earlier, and have been owned by you for six months) is worth very little. If that's not the case - it's worth comparing your scrappage quote with the cost of part-exchanging your car and buying outside the scheme.

then ask about scrappage

Nearly new & used cars without scrappage

         

Other car manufacturer scrappage schemes

Several other scrappage schemes aren't targeted directly at diesel cars, but at older models in general (and any car at all in the case of Vauxhall). As long as your car meets any age or emissions standard criteria, then you'll be able to take advantage of the discounts, no matter what fuel you put into the tank.

 

  

Ford petrol and diesel scrappage scheme

Offer £2,000 to £7,000 discount
Trade-in requirements Any car registered before January 1, 2010
New cars available Fiesta (above), Focus, Kuga, B-Max, C-Max and Transit Deadline No end date announced

From the Fiesta to the Transit: there's a wide range of Fords available under the manufacturer's scrappage scheme, even if it does omit certain models, including the Ka+, Mondeo and Edge.

If you own any car that was first registered before January 1, 2010 (and have done so for at least 90 days), then you'll qualify for the scheme, which offers £2,000 off a Fiesta. This discount then rises through the range. There's £4,000 off a Kuga, a £5,000 saving on a Transit Connect van and £7,000 off a Transit. This money can be used as a deposit towards a finance agreement.

You won't be able to take advantage of other Ford manufacturer offers if you go through the scrappage scheme, but you'll still be able to benefit from discounts offered by dealerships, which can be substantial. These are also available through BuyaCar.

Ford's scrappage discount remains the same, no matter what your car is worth (you don't get its trade-in value in addition to the discount), so you should get two quotes to ensure you're getting the best deal: one for getting a new car through the scrappage scheme and a second for part-exchanging your car normally.

then ask about scrappage

Nearly new & used cars without scrappage

          

Government diesel scrappage scheme

There's no guarantee that scrappage schemes will be launched. They are one option available to councils in the government's Air Quality Plan, which sets out policies to reduce emissions and air pollution. It includes the announcement of a petrol and diesel new car sales ban in 2040.

The money would come from a new air quality fund of more than £200m, which will be shared among local authorities. Michael Gove, the environment secretary, indicated that any scheme would be limited to areas where air pollution is worst. It's also likely that it would only apply to cars that are several years old. 

The Plan also identifies 81 major roads, in 17 towns and cities outside London, where toxic air pollution breaches EU legal standards and makes councils responsible for cutting emissions as soon as possible. The five cities with the worst roads are Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton. 

"We know people are moving away quite rightly from diesel cars at the moment," said Gove, speaking on the Radio 4 Today programme. "However, if local authority areas can come up with scrappage schemes that are value for money and appropriately targeted, then we certainly have no ideological or theological objection to them and I will work with any local authority area that believes that a scrappage scheme would be effective and value for money."

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has already called for a scrappage scheme to be implemented in London, which would give up to 130,000 low-income families £2,000 to scrap their old diesel cars. Up to 70,000 van and minibus drivers would get £3,500 under his proposal.

However, Gove's comments suggest that the scheme, which is estimated to cost more than £500m, would be too wide-ranging to fit with the government's plans.

Read our full guide to future diesel taxes and charges

   

The details below, based on government hints, are a realistic estimate of what a diesel scrappage scheme might entail:

  • A cash incentive for drivers to trade in an old car (which is then scrapped) for a new model Read more
  • Limited availability to those living in or near the worst-polluted parts of Britain Read more
  • An initial consultation would mean that it’s unlikely to be introduced before autumn. Read more

  

How will the government diesel scrappage scheme work?

Any scrappage scheme would be introduced locally, so there could be several operating with slightly different rules.

The concept of offering an incentive on a new car when you scrap an older diesel one, is likely to be the same. A scrappage scheme in 2009, designed to boost sales, offered motorists a £2,000 discount on a new vehicle, comprising £1,000 from government and £1,000 from car manufacturers. The money had to be put towards a new car and could not be used to buy a second-hand model.

It's not known whether you would be forced to buy a non-diesel car with a scrappage scheme incentive, or whether the latest, cleaner, diesel models would also be eligible.

To make the switch more affordable, local authorities may allow drivers to put the money towards a relatively new second-hand car.

See the most efficient petrol cars on sale

    

Where will the government diesel scrappage scheme operate?

Opening up a scrappage scheme to all old diesel cars would cost £60bn - half the NHS budget - according to the Air Quality Plan consultation, published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in May.

As a result, any schemes will be limited to the worst-polluted urban areas, where removing the oldest diesel cars is likely to have the greatest effect. Defra calls this targeted scrappage.

The worst-polluted roads are concentrated in 17 British towns and cities. Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton are at the top of the table for emissions levels.

In some areas, a scrappage scheme could make a significant contribution to improving air quality. Other regions may decide to impose a blanket inner-city charge for older diesel cars - like London - and in those cases, a scrappage scheme could provide an escape for some diesel owners - provided the cash incentive was large enough for them to afford a new car.

"Some have suggested that a targeted scrappage scheme for older, more polluting vans or cars could be developed to contribute to the cost of purchasing a cleaner vehicle," Defra wrote in the Air Quality Plan. "Such a scheme would have to be targeted at those most in need of support and be limited in scope.

"Any scheme would need to provide value for money, target support where it was most needed, be deliverable at local authority level and minimise the scope for fraud."

Even so, the numbers could be large. There are 1.9 million diesel cars older than 12 years on the road. If the scheme were restricted to the oldest cars in the most-polluted cities excluding London – Leeds, Derby, Southampton, Birmingham and Nottingham – between 100,000 and 150,000 cars could be scrapped.

It’s uncertain whether London will be included in a diesel scrappage scheme, as its public transport system makes driving in the centre less necessary, and the funding required for a capital-wide policy, would be enormous (over £500m based on the Mayor's latest plans). There’s also a resident’s discount for those living in the area affected by this year’s T-Charge, which will be applied to older cars.

Search for new and used car deals

   

What cars can I buy under the government diesel scrappage scheme?

You could have the choice of any new car. Alternatively, you may only be able to use a scrappage incentive for petrol, hybrid or electric cars.

In one hypothetical scenario set out by Defra, motorists would be offered £6,000 to trade in their car, but would only be able to use it to buy an electric model.

However, no decision has yet been taken, and a scheme may even allow you to buy some new diesel cars if they have passed the latest, much tougher emissions tests, carried out on public roads, which will be phased in from this autumn.

That’s because recent evidence has shown that even the newest diesel cars produce high levels of harmful emissions in normal driving, which are generally well in excess of regulatory limits.

It’s perfectly legal because - until the new tests are introduced - cars only need to pass a simple laboratory test to ensure that they comply with the rules. This isn’t representative of the way that modern cars are used.

Should I buy a diesel car? See our guide  

     

When will the government diesel scrappage scheme start?

Councils must put together their proposals for cutting air pollution by next year. Any authorities who put forward a scrappage scheme are likely to launch a consultation on the subject, inviting opinions on its viability, effectiveness, and ways to improve the plans.

Once the feedback is processed, the scheme finalised and all systems put in place, it could easily be 2019. This is when the first Clean Air Zones outside of London could charge drivers of older cars to enter city centres.

   

   

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