Well that’s it, there is no more, the end of scrappage and it was certainly good while it lasted. With what could end up with a total of 400,000 units purchased through the scheme I think most of us agree, as insidious an individual that the prince (sorry Lord) of darkness is, if this really was his idea then he is to be congratulated.
The scrappage scheme undoubtedly provided just the shot in the arm this great industry needed and for car makers, as well as dealers and all other companies linked to the car business, it has kept people employed and ensured that profits, albeit more modest, have been sustained through this painful recession.
Without wishing to knock the whole thing though there is no point in wallowing in the soft glow and feelings of a job well done as we still need to evaluate the after effects following on from the end of the scheme. We should certainly be cautious because there are still many factors which mean that all the good work could just as easily be undone and the price increases on new cars and the new showroom tax are clearly good examples of causative agents.
It is clear that selling used cars rather than new will be at the forefront of most dealers’ strategy to take up the obvious slack caused by the end of scrappage but dealers still remain worried about achieving their budget plans and a whole lot of hard work will be required to negotiate the next quarter.
It will certainly be interesting to see the effect on the new car sales figures on a like for like basis now the industry has to stand on its own feet again. The SMMT were upbeat yesterday however; “While the 2010 market is expected to dip, the recent increase in fleet and business demand is expected to soften the impact of the end of the scrappage scheme,” it said in a statement.
But not only does the industry have to stand on their own two feet again but so will, how can I put this, the less industrious of sales people who have lived high on the hog during scrappage and may, dare I say it, have forgotten how to actually sell a car. Now all the chaise longue they have been reclining on whilst customers fed them proverbial grapes and signed on the dotted line have been cleared out and it’s back to uncomfortable chairs and good old fashioned hard work.
One thing is for sure, the marketing men will earn their bonuses this year because they will definitely have a tough job dreaming up schemes that could be anywhere near as effective as scrappage was.
But that’s it scrappage is done and dusted and it’s time to move on with our lives.