Manufacturers ending German scrappage schemes as software retrofits continue development

10 May 2018

10 May 2018

Vehicle manufacturers in Germany are slowly starting to reign in their diesel discounts following the country’s summit in August of last year.

After nine months, during which various companies offered scrappage deals against different models, many are now starting to wean customers away from incentives and return to normal sales. Others have stopped the deals completely.

Volkswagen (VW) has reduced the discount across all models and with all brands within the group, while Ford and Fiat Chrysler (FCA) are still advertising high rates. Nissan has removed the offer completely, with others expected to follow this example, especially as many of the scrappage scheme deals were due to expire at the beginning of 2018. However, with slow sales in the country, many decided to extend the offer and entice customers into showrooms.

The exception to the rule is Opel, which, according to the CAR centre at the University of Duisburg-Essen, is continuing to offer deals in order to fight its dwindling market share in the country.

The PSA owned manufacturer has achieved a historically low market share of 6.5% in the first four months of 2018, according to analysts at the centre. This is partially due to the company’s uncertain future as its new owners look to cut costs, while a row with unions over pay and job losses is keeping the manufacturer in the news for the wrong reasons.

Therefore, rather than decreasing, the carmaker has increased discounts on models, hoping to take advantage as other manufacturers pull incentives from their sales promotions.

Retrofitting updates

Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) has requested 17 models from Daimler, Audi, Porsche and VW in order to check software updates that were developed following the diesel forum. Among other things, the functioning of exhaust after treatment at various temperatures is being investigated in the laboratory and by road measurement. The agency is also checking that there are no prohibited defeat devices.

The progress of the retrofitting program, which will see 5.3 million vehicles recalled by the end of the year, is currently unclear. However, Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer recently set manufacturers a deadline of 1 September to complete the work.

Updates have now been submitted to the KBA for the VW Touareg, and the Porsche models Panamera and Cayenne. Audi has requested approvals for the A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, Q5, SQ5 and Q7 models. At Daimler, it concerns the models GLC, Vito, GLK and CLS as well as diesel of the C and E class.