Vauxhall is using World Environment Day to launch its latest green initiative - a hefty £1000 discount off your new car if you agree to scrap your old one.
The incentive applies to all makes of trade-in, but only if you’re buying one of Vauxhall’s most efficient Corsa, Astra, Meriva or Zafira models. Which means no discounts on a VXR8. Most experts agree that the quickest way to cut vehicle tailpipe emissions is to take the oldest, most polluting cars off the road. Vauxhall’s current Astra 1.3 CDTi produces 90bhp and averages 58.9mpg, but the 1995 1.7D averaged just 44.2mpg and developed a miserly 57bhp. Vauxhall estimates that swapping the newer, more powerful and more economical Corsa with older model would save £300 in fuel costs and 800kg of carbon dioxide a year.
Particulate, hydrocarbon and NOx emissions were all significantly higher in older cars and get worse as the engines age. Fifteen million cars on Britain’s road are over seven years old, and four million are over 12 years old. Politicians are reluctant to introduce penalties for old, polluting cars for fear of being accused of taxing the poor off the road.
'Modern low-emission vehicles can only help the environment when they replace the old cars which blight Britain’s roads,' said Vauxhall chairman Jonathan Browning. 'We know there are many drivers who would love to see their old car scrapped and replaced by a greener vehicle, but think they can’t afford it. Vauxhall will now assist them.' The incentive will run until the end of August, when it will be reviewed. Buyers must have owned the car being scrapped for at least 90 days. Vehicles not being scrapped will attract an additional £250 trade-in bonus on top of any other promotions.
The deal will be marketed under the ‘ecoFlex’ banner, which Vauxhall will use for further environmental initiatives and may adopt as a sub-brand for its greener cars, similar to Volkswagen’s Bluemotion. The same deal will be offered elsewhere in Europe.
World Environment Day also saw the Brighton to London Eco-Rally finishing in Trafalgar Square and featuring a series of green cars. Many, like the Ford Focus FCV fuel cell car were making their UK debut. General Motors brought its Zafira-based HydroGen3 fuel cell car, and an E85 bioethanol-powered Saab 9-3 convertible. And to further underpin the company’s global eco drive, CEO Rick Wagoner announced two contracts to develop the lightweight, high-capacity laptop-style lithium-ion batteries needed to make the Volt plug-in hybrid concept shown at this year’s Detroit Motor Show ready for production.