By on March 1, 2008
88040946_1.jpgCTV News reports that Canada's environment minister, John Baird, is about to announce a program designed at removing older vehicles from Canada's roads. Baird's ministry, Environment Canada, contacted vehicle scrappers to give them the heads-up. According to the Goverment's research, five million vehicles dating from 1995 or earlier roam the country's roads. Though these vehicles represent only 28 percent of licensed vehicles, they account for 67 percent of the smog. Mark Natais, president of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers' Association– who has absolutey NO INTEREST WHATSOEVER in inciting five million Canadians to buy new vehicles– piles it on, noting that models from 1987 or earlier could release 37 times more emissions than a brand-new vehicle. Details of the taxpayer-funded mechanism favoured by Baird are scarce. CTV mentions some possible alternative: rebates on new vehicles, free transit passes and charitable receipts in exchange for older cars. At a glance, such a program seems like a no-brainer. The problem is that, from a cost/benefit point of view, any car older than 12 years is typically fully paid and has negligible trade-in value. And let's face it, if it's made it this far, it's a survivor. No incentive can overcome the cost of a new set of payments.
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18 Comments on “Canada to Cull Clunkers with Taxpayers’ Money...”


  • avatar
    lprocter1982

    Not to mention that the people who drive 20 year old cars probably can’t afford a new car, hence the reason they’re driving a 20 year old car. Any measure intended to get old cars off the road only harms the poor, because they can’t afford a ‘decent’ car.

  • avatar

    Also, what about the occasional historic vehicle one sees today. Under such a law, they’d have to be scrapped before getting the chance to be considered historic.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    It sounds like Canada is considering a program similar to Texas’:

    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/classifieds/news/automotive/latestnews/stories/020908dnbusoldcarvouchers.3a0ae87.html

    Lower income people can get a $3000 voucher towards a new or up to three year old used car in exchange for turning in their 10 year or older clunker.

  • avatar

    :-) They can have my E30 when they pull the (perfectly weighted) steering wheel from my cold dead hands. . .

    . . .Or they can buy me a 128i.

    Either way.

  • avatar

    Jesus Christ, when did “10 year old car” == clunker?

    Lots of cars were better built and got better mileage from 1985 -> 1995. Sure, some of these cars are approaching 200k now, but if they pass emissions (where applicable), why junk them?

  • avatar
    Rday

    I seem to recall that Japan and some other companies raise the annual property tax on vehicles each year. By the fifth year or so the tax is so high that it is too expensive to keep owning the vehicle. Good way to generate car sales and keep the air clean too. I think the idea makes alot of sense. I get tired of seeing these old gas guzzling rustbuckets out there spewing forth pollution and smoke. If we are serious about improving gas mileage and cleaning the environment, then the time has come to do something that will really bring results.

  • avatar
    i6

    GM Canada has been doing this for years. Anyone who donates their eligible (meaning running and licensed) pre-’96 clunker to Car Heaven will receive $1000 towards the purchase of any new GM model. I’m excited to learn that my clapped-out ’89 240SX might be worth as much (or more?) towards the purchase of a vehicle other than in the GM family.

    Note also that with the Canadian dollar at par, any incentive to help sell overpriced Canadian cars is effectively also an employment stimulus program.

  • avatar
    Jordan Tenenbaum

    Yeah, there’s no way I would give up my Volvo. It’s in better mechanical condition than most 10 year old cars.

    Something like this would never fly, but perhaps a retrofitting program might. What kind of retrofitting; you got me, but I’m sure someone would think of something.

  • avatar
    AGR

    In Canada 50% of new vehicles are leased, most probably on a 36 or 48 month lease. One could easely conclude that half of the vehicle population is not more than 4 years old.

    Many Canadian analysts have for several years touted the increased durability of modern vehicles. Manuafcturers with their CPO programs are breathing a new life into the “lease return” trying to lease it out again for another 3 years.

    With the strenghtening of the CDN dollar many Canadians are buying collector cars, and at the same time bringing back many of these collector cars that went to the US when the CDN dollar was weak.

    In Ontario the OPP is on a constant watch for “clunkers” on the 400 series highways. The mandatory Drive Clean program for up to 20 year old vehicles, has made older carburated vehicles a genuine challenge to pass on a regular basis.

    The fellow with a 1970 Chevelle SS454 will rush to a dealer to trade it in? Trying the beat the one with the Hemi Cuda, along with the other fellow with the Boss 302. Aren’t these cars clunkers?

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    Now if I could turn in my 1986 Toyota Corolla and get a 2008 Corolla at no cost to me, then we’d be talking.

  • avatar
    NBK-Boston

    How bad is the smog in Canada?

  • avatar
    i6

    Is there such a thing as good smog? Must be a Boston thing.

  • avatar
    NickR

    How bad is the smog in Canada?

    In Toronto, in July and August, it is brutal.

  • avatar

    Seriously? Brutal smog in Toronto? Hard to believe. Most of Canada is pretty sparsely populated (think the population of California spread across the entire US). Aside from possibly a few cities like Toronto, it’s hard for me to imagine smog being a problem in 97.45% of Canada. Gosh, eyes burning in Halifax NS and a pall over Edmonton Alta, blocking the view of the stars. (The local astronomy community is up in arms, UP IN ARMS over the clunkers, and recently held a protest where they threw meteorites at a 1975 AMC Pacer.) Really stretches the imagination. So what is this clunker buy back really about?

  • avatar
    i6

    Ah! A sensible question.

    Of course we can’t know until the details are released, but given that Samir kindly informed us that the same government has just axed the existing ‘clean-car’ rebate (as of 2009) then we can assume that the new program is intended at least in part to supplant that initiative.

  • avatar

    Gas guzzling old cars?? Come-on, lets tell the rich they can no longer drive there 10km to the liter always only one driver, 4 tonne of scrap metal SUV, they must trade it in on a mini, maybe give the money difference to me so I can buy me one too, cause I am very happy with my 87 Aries K, it gets 40 to the liter and runs like the day it rolled off the assembly line.

  • avatar

    The view from the USA, pretty aint it LMAO..

    Seriously? Brutal smog in Toronto? Hard to believe. Most of Canada is pretty sparsely populated (think the population of California spread across the entire US). Aside from possibly a few cities like Toronto, it’s hard for me to imagine smog being a problem in 97.45% of Canada. Gosh, eyes burning in Halifax NS and a pall over Edmonton Alta, blocking the view of the stars. (The local astronomy community is up in arms, UP IN ARMS over the clunkers, and recently held a protest where they threw meteorites at a 1975 AMC Pacer.) Really stretches the imagination. So what is this clunker buy back really about?

  • avatar
    butchart

    The word CLUNKER I thought use to refer to an old fishing boat with a single cylinder engine cruising along the waters.
    As for the old cars polluting is a bunch of brainwashing by government and environmentalists.
    You see…the old cars still burn the same fuel as the new ones and that same gasoline burns so much cleaner than the old leaded fuel. Some of the old cars from the 30’s to 80’s can go 50 thousand kliks before you have to change sparkplugs. As for the buyback program giving you a $3000. rebate is only a tax receipt to claim on your income tax and if you are lucky you might get back about 500 to 750 bucks in reality for your old vehicle, so I think its a scam to get people to buy new cars when there is nothing wrong with their old one. Yes, I agree, there are some vehicles out there not fit to even be in a driveway, not alone being on the highway. Don’t get sucked in by Governments to get you to give up your transportation if its in good condition. Governments don’t want you to get rid of the automobile, because its one of the biggest tax generators. I have an 88 F-150 and its in excellent condition, bedamned if I will give it up yet.

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