Scrappage scheme may fail to rev up British car makers

Linda J. Dodson

A scrappage scheme offering motorists up to £6,000 to trade in old petrol or diesel cars for a new electric vehicle would do little to bolster British carmakers, experts have warned.

The plan, which is being considered by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he seeks to rev up the automotive industry following a lockdown sales collapse and a run of redundancies, would do little to help the UK’s biggest carmaker Jaguar Land Rover.

JLR’s only all-electric car, the I-Pace, is built in Austria by contract manufacturer Magna, meaning pumping UK state funds into the proposal would do little to save British jobs.

The firm has about 40,000 UK staff and is planning to build electric versions of its Jaguar saloons at a plant in Castle Bromwich in the West Midlands, but the first of these will not come until next year. The crisis in the industry could derail the project altogether if JLR is forced into severe cost cuts.

Ian Henry, of data firm AutoAnalysis, said: “We won’t see the first electric Jaguar – the XJ – out of Castle Bromwich until next year at the earliest. Any impact on volumes from an incentive would have little impact on JLR in the near term.”  

Jaguar’s saloons sell in small numbers, meaning the boost would be limited even if it was able to rush an electric version into production. Last year the company sold just 61,000 saloons of all models worldwide.

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