Germany Culls Clunkers, Common Sense

Martin Schwoerer
by Martin Schwoerer
germany culls clunkers common sense

America is not the only country whose government is Hell bent on supporting an auto industry past its prime. Take Germany. Bitte. Last autumn, the German government announced it would suspend registration taxes on cars to support new-car sales. The moved shaved between $200 (for small cars) and $2000 (for more prolific carbon belchers) from the price of admission. Net result, sales-wise? Nichts. Never mind. Yesterday, Germany’s government felt inspired by the French example to introduce incentives for motorists to scrap their older cars. Now, any owner of a nine-year-old or older German ow-tow-mobile car can collect around $3,000 (€2,500) if he or she junks his or her car and buys a new, hopefully more fuel efficient model. Hmmm. Corporations account for over 50 percent of Germany’s new cars sales. Looking at the other half, few motorists who drive a genuine clunker can afford a new car, with or without incentives. And those who can usually purchase a cheap, non-German car. In light of these inconvenient Aufrichtigkeits, PricewaterhouseCooper’s estimates that the scrapping incentive will add 300k sales to the moribund annual total sounds like a load of baloney. If so, all that remains is greenwashery (“at least we got some of those clunkers off the road”) and expensive government activism. Look for an American version in the next Congressional bailout budget.

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  • Matt Matt on Jan 15, 2009

    I have a colleague who is buying a car for this very reason. Well, that and his family is about to outgrow his Jetta.

  • Mirko Reinhardt Mirko Reinhardt on Jan 15, 2009

    The whole "don't pay road tax for the first two years" thing is immensely stupid, makes nobody buy a new car but leaves a billion-€-sized hole that has to be filled somehow. What they should have done: Finally switching to a CO2-based road tax model, so people with economical cars pay a bit less. On my BMW, the road tax would be roughly half of the 308€ I pay now if they switched to the proposed CO2-based taxing scheme.

  • Kurt. Kurt. on Jan 15, 2009

    Safety sucks. Look, I don't want airbags. I'll take my chances. Of course I want myself and my family to be safe - but safe from poor engineering i.e. the 1974 Pinto (kaboom!). I will accept or not accept KNOW DIFFICIENCIES (such as the rollover of a high COG vehicle like the Samurai) but that is MY CHOICE! I know it and I make a conscious decision to drive or not drive it. Until the US has national healthcare and foots my bill, they have no say. The safetycrats have double the weight of the car. Compare the Civic of the '70 to the '00's. Look at mini-trucks. I saw a Chevy S-10 just yesterday parked where I used to park my Dodge RAM 350. They were close to the same size! Next thing you know, they will want roll cages for motorcycles! Make us live in protective bubbles. Remove all choice. Look, I think it is a good idea for "the masses" to purchase newer, cleaner, and safer vehicles. It helps the economy, can help the environment, and can save lives. Just don't MANDATE it and tell me I MUST!

  • SexCpotatoes SexCpotatoes on Jan 15, 2009

    Give me $3000 per clunker, for my three, let me strip off all the parts I want to save first, and I'll buy 18 $500 cars.