ECONOMY

Cash boost coming for car buyers

President Karolos Papoulias signed a decision yesterday opening the way for the government to offer cash incentives to car buyers who scrap older vehicles when buying newer models. Those interested in getting hold of a new model by benefiting from the state program will have to wait a few months until the government specifies the procedures that need to be followed. Regardless of the outcome of the October 4 elections, however, the measure will go ahead, as it is supported by PASOK. The Socialists, leading the ruling conservatives by between 5 and 6 percent in the polls, have said they will fine-tune the program’s conditions by linking the financial benefit handed out to the scrapped car’s carbon emissions and not its age. Parliament will have to vote on the measures within 40 days after sessions begin under the new government and the decision will then need to be published in the Government Gazette. Sources have said the procedure is likely to be implemented in three stages, with the first being the scrapping of the old vehicle at a certified center and turning in number plates to the Transport Ministry. Once the car has been certified as scrap, the owner will next turn to the tax office to obtain a payment of between 500 to 2,200 euros, depending on the age and engine size of the car destroyed. The last stage, in which a final 1,000-euro payment will be made to the recipient, is likely to be provided by the tax office when the car owner provides proof of purchase for a new vehicle, sources added. In addition to helping to improve air quality, due to a more modern fleet of cars on the country’s roads, the program is aimed at assisting the auto sector recover from the financial crisis. A number of other countries, such as Turkey, are also expected to move ahead with a similiar program. Turkey’s Finance Ministry is currently working on offering cash incentives for cars of 10 years or older that are scrapped but has yet to make its final decisions.