The government's “environmental bonus” programme is designed to encourage used car buyers to add their old cars to the scrap heap for new, cleaner-burning autos. The government hopes the subsidy will stem, if not reverse, a 14 percent decline in new car sales in January, thereby supporting Germany's most important employer. One in five Germans are employed by the car industry.
“For the first time even the German premium manufacturers are openly and unabashedly offering discounts in the form of the environmental premium,” auto industry expert Ferdinand Dudenhöffer told the paper.
The Mercedes-Benz A-Class line is currently being offered at a 24.2 percent discount, while the entry-level BMW is going for a 23.1 discount and Audi's smallest model the A3 is selling at an 18.4 percent markdown.
Non-German brands are even cheaper. Italian carmaker Fiat was discounting its Panda model by as much as 48.5 percent, Bild reported.