The real cost of the scrappage scheme

It was with frustration, and a head full of “what ifs” I took a closer look at the official list of all vehicles scrapped during the Governments 2009 Scrappage Scheme. Grab a tissue to wipe the tears, and read on to find out the real cost of this automotive, economic kick starter. 

The headlines, from a VW enthusiast point of view, make for grim reading; over 31,000 Volkwagen vehicles were scrapped during 2009. Each owner given a £2000 subsidy towards a new car (50% paid by Government and 50% by the manufacturer). One in every 5 new cars sold in 2009 had a car sent for scrap when it was purchased, leading to abandoned airfields full of wasted cars!


Almost 100 aircooled Beetle models were sold to the scheme in exchange for a new car; these were cars that had a valid MOT, and had to of been owned by the same person for at least a year to qualify. Did these owners not realise what they had? Or was it just unfortunate circumstance that lead to the demise of their classics? Further delving discovered a trio of Type 3’s suffering at the hands of the scrap man.. what were they thinking?!!

The big story is the mass destruction of the modern classic Volkswagen though.

Cars had to be manufactured before 1999 to be entitled to this “privilege” and of course, worth less than £2000 trade in, to make it worth scrapping rather than selling as a going concern.

The casualties from the Classic car owners point of view, are Mk1 Golf Cabriolet, Mk2 Golf, Corrado, Mk3 Golf and Transporters too. Whilst picking figures from a slightly haphazard spreadsheet (the descriptions must have been written by garages, rather than pulled direct from DVLA database) is tricky, we spotted almost 70 Corrado’s had been snatched from our roads, a single Derby gave up it’s life, 84 Scirocco’s were sacrificed for a newer model, and a supercharged Polo G40 was sent to the scrapheap in the sky.

Golf’s are trickier to highlight as a particular year and model, however it is safe to say there’s probably 50  less GTI 16v’s on the roads thanks to this arrangement. Mk1 Cabriolet numbers went down by at least 25, with the total Golf cull coming in 11,000, shadowed by the Polo’s of which more than 15,000 were sent to an early grave.

scrap mk3 Golfsmall

Transporters, like Golf’s were tricky to pin point, but the figures suggest a few hundred gave up their lives,  another 60 Caravelle’s followed suit. All this scrapping has lead to an increase in value in our classics, so perhaps we should be thankful, but for those trying to get a foot on the classic VW ladder it’s become more expensive, and the choice of cars on offer is now slimmer too.

In conclusion, whilst there is something to be said for this scheme improving sales of new cars, and no doubt secured many jobs in the automotive industry, I still struggle to get my head around how and why you would scrap some of the cars that this initiative claimed. Whilst the more modern classics are still being dismantled today, by enthusiasts trying to save others, or those trying to make a quick buck at the expense of the long term future of the VW scene; how could a VW Beetle ever be confused as anything but a worthwhile classic.

Whilst we’ll never know, I can only hope they were all rotten through, and sporting dodgy MOT’s; perhaps then I can sleep a little better, you can’t save them all….

Here are the numbers, broken down into the largest groups, small numbers have been collected under “unspecified” to keep the list concise.

Polo – 15247, Golf – 11082, Passat -2828, Sharan – 397, Caddy – 320, Transporter – 296, Vento – 266, Lupo – 261, Bora – 206, Beetle – 96, Jetta – 88, Scirocco – 84, LT – 69,
Caravelle – 68, Corrado – 68, New Beetle – 10, Unspecified – 83.

You can read the full report for yourselves over on the Government website, thanks to the freedom of information act.


The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of VW Heritage

2 responses to: The real cost of the scrappage scheme

  1. How long before the value of the scrapped car exceeds the value of the new replacement?

    While the scheme might have boosted car sales temporarily it did nothing for the environment, even green organisations were against it.

  2. Unfortunately most ended up the size of an under counter fridge.
    It may have boosted the economy but it has made it harder for the Classic VW owners to locate used parts , Most are obsolete from VW new and scrap yards are a valuable resource, but with such a huge influx of vehicles being “scrapped” the yards were crushing anything and everything, unfortunately this meant that a huge amount of useable parts were crushed. With that amount of cars and vans being “taken” from us and with fewer on the road this will mean slim pickings for us owners in the future.

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