Freitag, 29. Mai 2009

Experiences with the Car Scraping Bonus

I finally decided to scrap my 14 year old car and buy a new one.

Talked to various car salesmen, and also asked them if they are happy about the smashing success of the Abwrackprämie (the 2,500 € car scraping bonus). Contrary to my expectation (surely at least the car dealers should be happy about it, right?), their answers varied between lukewarm and very negative.

In particular, they all seemed convinced that this year's new business bonanza will equal next year's shortfall.

And they were complaining about the bureaucratic hassles involved. One guy told me that two of his customers had problems with their application being turned down for incorrect reasons (the bureaucrats claimed that the applications contained incomplete documents, even though the copies kept by the car dealer showed that the complete set had been submitted), and nearly all of them are still waiting to receive the money (apparently, the processing delays may take more than six months).

In any case, the bonus scheme led me to ditch my car a year or so earlier than I otherwise would have done. As a consequence, British and Turkish car workers have a slightly lower risk of being laid off (that's where the Toyota I am buying was produced according to the car dealer, though he was quick to emphasize that a few of the components were supplied by Bosch and other German suppliers).

But I still think it's a waste to scrap a perfectly good car with a used car value of roughly 1,000 €: Some guy in Romania or Lebanon would have been perfectly happy to drive my car for a few more years...


  1. I've been pondering about the Abwrackprämie upon reading your post "The Economic Effects of a Car Bail-Out". I believe that from an ecologic perspective, it's probably not as bad as it may seem at first glance: Fuel consumption of contemporary cars is generally lower than it was more than 9 years ago, and because the old cars are scraped, the amount of cars in circulation stays constant. Thus, both German oil demand and carbon emissions should decrease.

    Of course, a lot of energy is still wasted for the production of the new cars. That's the price we pay to smoothen the transition to reduced production capacities.

    Also, it is extremely egoistic towards developing countries. ARD had this soul-stirring story in January:

    My car (a small Daimler) is more than 10 years old, but I definitely won't take advantage of the Abwrackprämie. My car is still worth a lot more than 2500 EUR, and I just like it so much. I hope to be replacing it in two years or so with a fuel-cell powered car.

    Just out of curiosity, are you buying a hybrid Toyota?

    It's practically impossible to build a car *without* parts from Bosch or Conti/Schaeffler.

  2. Regarding the effect of the car scraping bonus on overall energy use, I think I'll write another post a little later.

    As for our new car: No, it's a regular one (similar category as VW Golf), not a hybrid. I thought about getting a Prius, but it's much more expensive. We are Munich city dwellers and mostly use public transport, so it's not worth it to pay so much more. Actually, it's probably not rational for us to buy a car at all, considering the expenses involved and the low frequency of car usage.