Govt bows to makers' and dealers' plea to extend £2000 discount scheme for a month.  The new-cars-for-old scrappage scheme was due to end this month. But the Government has just extended the scheme so that it’ll now run to the end of March. The scheme, which began in May 2009, has helped over 330,000 swap their 10-years-old cars for new ones. It has also given car makers and retailers a much-needed boost during what has been termed ‘the worst recession since the 1930s’.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson urged would-be buyers to place orders quickly. The extension brings no new money with it, and the scheme will end before its new deadline if the £300m the govt has put into the scheme gets used up.

Under the scheme, cars V-reg and older are traded in for a brand new one. Provided that the car has been with its present owner for at least a year and other conditions are met, the buyer gets a discount of at least £2000 and the car traded gs for scrap. Half of the discount is paid by the govt while the manufacturer contributes the rest. Forty-one car makers are taking part and the govt says it will bring in a quota system to ensure that the rest of the funds are distributed fairly.

Toyota, Hyundai and other car makers have already announced follow-on incentive schemes for when the cash runs out. Vauxhall is the latest to join them.

Vauxhall Swappage offers at least £3000 off new Astras (pictured), Astra Sport hatches and most Corsa models. But Vauxhall takes its scheme further by taking cars if they are at least seven years old, provided they are taxed, insured and have a valid MoT certificate. There’s no upper age restriction, and customers need to have owned their trade-in for only 90 days. The make’s dealers will also take a husband’s or wife’s car if the other partner is buying.