Ford – the best selling car manufacturer in the UK – has begun offering drivers up to £7,000($9,000) for vehicles registered before December 2009.

In so doing, it joins the likes of BMW, which launched a similar scrappage offer earlier in August, just two months after an IAM RoadSmart survey found a majority of drivers in favour of such a move.

The Ford scheme will offer between £2,000 and £7,000 for any pre-Euro 5 vehicle which was registered by 31 December 2009 to put towards a newer Ford model.

The scheme will come into effect on 1 September, and run until the end of the year.

According to Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders data, there are approximately 19.3m pre-Euro 5 emission level passenger cars on UK roads today.

The Euro 5 emission standard was first introduced in 2009 and has since been replaced by Euro 6, further reducing the amount of permissible emissions.

Latest Euro 6 standard and new vehicle technologies mean today’s cars produce far lower emissions than previous generations:

  • carbon monoxide from petrol is down 63 percent and from diesel down 82 percent since 1993;
  • hydrocarbons from petrol is down by 50 percent since 2001;
  • oxides of nitrogen is down 84 percent since 2001, and
  • particulate matter from diesel is down 96 percent since 1993.

Andy Barratt, chairman and managing director of Ford of Britain said:

Removing generations of the most polluting vehicles will have the most immediate positive effect on air quality, and this Ford scrappage scheme aims to do just that. We don’t believe incentivising sales of new cars goes far enough and we will ensure that all trade-in vehicles are scrapped. Acting together we can take hundreds of thousands of the dirtiest cars off our roads and out of our cities.

Why are car makers moving to get these cars off the road?

There are growing fears that the government is going to clamp down on diesel and other polluting cars and manufacturers have long been accused of dragging their heels over plans to tighten emissions testing,

While the move can be seen as a environmental one, getting cars off the road that spew far more emissions than their modern counterparts, it is also an attempt to boost sales which have been flagging across the industry.

In July, new car registrations fell for the fourth consecutive month in a row.

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David Bailey, professor of industrial strategy at Aston University, told the Guardian:

People are worried about the residual values of their diesels; some analysts think the share of the diesel market could be as low as 15% by 2025. There’s a sense that we’ve had peak diesel – it was a wrong turn. Car companies are going to have to take action. UK sales have been down in the last few months, partly as the market was overtrading before, with a lot of financial innovation around [car loans] – and now of course there is an effect from Brexit, both from currency depreciation and an impact on real incomes.