Do I qualify for an ‘Eco Grant’?
With a number of car makers offering special deals on those trading in older diesel-engined models, the question of whether or not your car qualifies for one is, initially, very simple. It’s a yes, if it was built before September 2009. Probably. It still might qualify if it was built after September 2009, but more probably not.
Why? Because this new wave of ‘eco-grant’ offers is designed to encourage people to trade out of their old diesel-engined cars and into new, supposedly cleaner models (we say supposedly because, as the recent diesel scandal has proved, you can never be certain about such things).
The significance of that September 2009 date is because it’s when the Euro5 emissions regulations came into force. The European laws governing emissions from cars started way back in 1992, and we’re currently up to Euro6, with Euro7 just around the corner. Euro5 was a significant step because it was the one that saw a dramatic drop in the levels of oxides of nitrogen (called just NOx) that a car was allowed to emit.
Now NOx is at the heart of the whole diesel scandal. It’s nasty stuff, and has been named as a major cause of respiratory illness and even deaths, and when Euro5 came into effect, it saw the permissible levels of NOx fall from 0.25g/km to 0.18g/km. As we now know, car makers started cheating the testing system to get around those limits, but it’s certainly beyond debate that cars that conform to Euro1 through Euro4 emissions regulations are ‘dirtier’ than cars that came after.
Of course, car makers didn’t switch to Euro5 overnight, and there were cars sold after the September 2009 date that were still on the older regulations, and some few sold before that date that were actually already on the tougher regulations. The date is a good rule of thumb, though.
So, what can it do to help you with your new car purchase? Well, whether you are a committed eco-warrior who wants to buy the cleanest car possible and put a smoky old one to the scrapyard while you're at it (and this time around, these cars really are going to be, in the main part, scrapped), or if you’re just on the lookout for a bargain, trading in an old car can now snag you some significant savings.
Volkswagen is offering owners of Euro1-4 conforming cars as much as €5,000 off the price of a new model, and a guarantee that their old smoker will be put to the sword at a properly regulated and approved End of Life Vehicle (ELV) facility. That saving is on a sliding scale — you’ll get €1,000 off an up!, €1,500 to €1,750 off a Polo, €3,000 off a Golf and so on — you only get to the maximum €5,000 saving if you’re buying Sharan MPV. Still, a saving is a saving, that discount might well be more than the realistic trade-in value of your car and the offers are available on all Volkswagen Group products, including Audi, SEAT, Skoda and VW vans.
BMW is offering a similar discount for higher-emissions vehicles. It’ll give you an extra €2,000 for any old Euro1-4 model, on top of other discounts and offers, as long as the car you’re trading in against has CO2 emissions of less than 130g/km. Mercedes too is in on the act, with €2,000 for your Euro1-4 car, plus a guarantee of it being scrapped, as long as you’re buying a new Mercedes model that conforms to the current Euro6 regulations, or one of its plugin hybrid models.
Ford’s ‘Clean Up For 181’ campaign doesn’t actually specify what sort of car you should be trading in, but is offering discounts on the company’s newer, cleaner models anyway. The campaign includes €6,000 off the price of a Kuga ST-Line, €4,000 off the new EcoSport, €5,500 off a Focus Titanium, €5,305 off a Focus ST-Line, €1,000 off a new Fiesta, €6,000 off a Grand C-Max, €6,000 off an S-Max and €6,000 off a Galaxy Titanium, all depending on terms and conditions of course.
To make absolutely certain that your car qualifies for any of these offers, the best thing to do is ring your local dealer and ask.