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U.K. Car-Scrapping Program To End In March

British government said incentives for buyers to trade in old automobiles for new cars will end on March 31, or earlier if the government's $600 million allocation is exhausted.

LONDON (AP) -- The British government on Wednesday said up to 50,000 new car buyers could benefit in the last five weeks of recession-fighting incentives to trade in old automobiles.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said the incentives will end on March 31, or earlier if the government's 400 million pounds ($600 million) allocation is exhausted.

New car sales have been boosted by the scrappage program, in which the government and industry split the cost of 2,000-pound discounts to buyers who trade in a car more than 10 years old.

As of Feb. 14, the program had supported the sales of 355,305 new vehicles.

Thirty-seven manufacturers have been allocated shares of the final batch of sales, the department said.

"Industry figures have showed again and again the benefits that the scrappage scheme is continuing to deliver to the automotive sector and beyond," said Peter Mandelson, who heads the department.

"It is great news that in January scrappage helped the industry to achieve its biggest output gain since May 1976."

New car production in Britain rose 65 percent in January compared to depressed volume a year earlier.

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