Tesla brings back scrappage, annoys enthusiasts

Published: 02 June 2023 Updated: 02 June 2023

Get up to £4,000 off a new Tesla
► You’ll need to have something cheap to scrap
Classic car enthusiasts not happy

In a move that will get the enthusiast car market enraged, scrappage is making a comeback.

Tesla – a company not unfamiliar with controversy – has introduced a scheme that will allow buyers who trade in older petrol and diesel cars to get up to £4,000 off a new Tesla in June 2023.

The company says its scrappage scheme is ‘in support of Tesla’s mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.’

How does it work?

Customers can trade-in their petrol or diesel vehicles with a value of less than £2,000 and receive an additional £2,000 contribution towards a new Model 3 or Model Y.

For example, if the trade-in value of their vehicle is £1,500, customers will receive £1,500 for the trade-in and an additional £2,000 from Tesla, resulting in a total contribution of £3,500. Cars will be scrapped via a ‘sustainable partner’ according to a Tesla UK spokesperson.

The trade-in has to have been registered in the customer’s name for at least three months, and it must have a minimum of 30 days MoT.

To be eligible for this scheme, customers must receive confirmation that the value of their trade-in quote is less than £2,000 between June 1 and June 30, 2023.

Scrapping a car? That doesn’t seem very clean

Cars will be scrapped via a ‘sustainable partner’ according to a Tesla UK spokesperson. These scrappies market themselves as ‘recycling centres’ and reuse tyres, mirrors, batteries and anything else they can take off and sell.

Tesla wouldn’t reveal the scrappage partner it uses.

The impact on the car community

Editor of Britain’s most read classic car title, Classic Car Weekly, David Simister said: ‘We know from previous scrappage schemes that classics can and do get traded in for discounts on new models.

‘During a Government-backed scheme in 2008-09 some 45 Jaguar XJ-Ss, 81 Morris Minors and 88 Citroën 2CVs were canned, and in 2018 a 1959 Standard Ten narrowly avoided being scrapped in a Ford-led manufacturer scrappage scheme.

Tesla scrappage
There’s a worry cheap starter classics will be taken off the road.

‘These are cars that are being re-used rather than going through the environmental impact of building a new one from scratch – and while the overall carbon emissions from tax-exempt classics is less than 0.25 per cent of the nation’s vehicle total, even these can be offset by carbon balancing schemes like the one run by Tree-V. 

‘Classics should be protected from scrappage schemes – and more than 14,000 of you agree, if a 2018 petition (sadly rejected by the government) is anything to go by. At the very least, these cars should be offered to clubs and enthusiasts who can restore them or use them for much-needed parts first, or sent to classic auctions. A two-grand discount isn’t worth chucking away our nation’s heritage for. ‘

By Murray Scullion

Petrolhead, journalist and traveller. Loves fast old cars and new tech. Deputy editor of sister site, Parkers.co.uk.