ECONOMY

Engines warming in car market

As consumers begin browsing car showrooms once again, dealerships are increasing their supply of stock in preparation for the introduction of cash incentives for those who scrap older vehicles when buying a newer model. The law, expected to be published soon in the Government Gazette, will be implemented regardless of the election results next month, as socialist PASOK has said it would also implement the measure if elected. Buyers who turn in their old cars can obtain a cash boost of between 1,500 to 3,200 euros, depending on the engine size and age of the car, as the governments tries to breathe life into the new car market. New car sales in the first half of September plummeted by up to 30 percent on an annual basis, according to industry sources. Buyers, however, may be able to get an additional discount on their purchase, as a number of vehicles are being sold at a reduced prices due to a recent cut in car registration taxes. The measure ended in mid-August but vehicles that were imported into the country before the cutoff date qualify for the lower tax rate that can save a buyer up to 1,200 euros. The new cash incentives will also help to provide support for the used car market, as consumers may receive up to 1,000 euros from the government when scrapping their old cars for one that is up to four years old and has either Euro IV or Euro V technology. Government officials have said the procedure for the new incentives 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 take recourse to the tax office to obtain a payment of between 500 and 2,200 euros. The last stage, in which a final 1,000-euro payment is to be made to the recipient, is likely to be provided by the tax office when the car owner provides proof of purchase of a new vehicle, sources added.