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Mercedes Offers Own 'Scrappage' Scheme

Mercedes-Benz is doing its bit to support hard-pressed operators of light commercial vehicles left sidelined by the Government’s much publicised Scrappage scheme, by offering them its own £2,000 cash incentive to invest in a new van.

The initiative is being promoted under the ‘Swappage’ banner and offers customers the chance to save £2,000 on the cost of a Sprinter 311CDI*, the most popular model in the award-winning Mercedes-Benz van range.

Those seeking to cash in on Chancellor Alistair Darling’s Scrappage scheme by claiming a £2,000 discount against the list price of a new car or van (up to 3.5 tonnes gvw), are required to trade-in another vehicle which must be more than 10 years-old. But because they are working vehicles, the proportion of 10-year-old vans on the road is considerably lower than for cars.

Scrappage rules also exclude customers from benefiting from the £2,000 handout if they intend to use an ‘off balance sheet’ finance method to fund a new acquisition. This clause penalises some light commercial vehicle operators who, because it best suits the gearing of their business, prefer to run their vans in this way.

While the £2,000 Scrappage discount is being funded equally by The Treasury and the motor manufacturers, Mercedes-Benz is meeting the full cost of the £2,000 Swappage discount it is passing on to customers.

Significantly, the Mercedes-Benz scheme is designed to appeal to owners of vans of all ages, by giving them an incentive to update their vehicles earlier than they might otherwise be able to do. Despite the Swappage name, there is no requirement to trade in an older vehicle. And those wishing to use an off balance sheet acquisition method can do so, and still save the £2,000.

The Swappage initiative brings together three acquisition methods – in each case, Mercedes-Benz will pay the customer’s £2,000 deposit. They are:

· An off balance sheet operating lease;

· An affinity (contract purchase) deal, and

· Low-rate finance – Mercedes-Benz is currently offering a flexible deal that allows customers to purchase their van over one year using flat rate finance at one per cent, over two years at two per cent or over three years at three per cent.

Simon Neill, National Dealer Sales Manager for Mercedes-Benz Vans, explains: “We quickly realised after the Scrappage scheme was announced that some of the terms and conditions meant it was going to be relatively difficult for van users to benefit.

“The Mercedes-Benz Swappage scheme, by contrast, has been designed specifically to meet the needs of light commercial vehicle operators. It offers retail customers the chance to acquire a new Mercedes Sprinter 311CDI at a highly attractive monthly cost, and without having to put down a sizeable cash deposit at a time when for many, capital is very hard to come by.”

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