Romania trashes old vehicles

old car

According to the Budapest Business Journal Romania’s government will spend 49.5 mln lei ($19 mln) this year to encourage owners of cars older than 12 years to junk them and buy new ones to cut pollution. The government will give 3,000 lei each to owners of 16,500 cars to help them buy vehicles that meet stricter emissions standards, Environment Minister Sulfina Barbu said.

”Romania is among the countries with the oldest cars on the road in Europe, with an average car age of more than 13 years,” Barbu said. Cars in the country are often passed from parent to child and kept running for decades. Most older models were made by Dacia SA under the communist government which fell in 1989, before the company was sold to Renault SA, France’s second-biggest carmaker.

New car sales in Romania rose 16% last year to 297,000 units as wages increased and consumer lending boomed before the country joined the EU.

This entry was posted in Economics, Politics & Policy initiatives, Pollution. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Romania trashes old vehicles

  1. Dave On Fire says:

    How green a measure is that, really? Let’s not forget how much pollution comes from car manufacture. Those who are going to buy cars anyway should certainly be encouraged to buy the cleanest, greenest and most efficient ones out there, but the technology is slowly improving all the time and periodically scrapping old cars en masse to keep up with it doesn’t seem very responsible to me.

  2. matt says:

    Yes, my hesitation came with the wholesale change approach to this policy. Sounds more like a new car subsidy for Renault & the like to me. Average car 13 years old in Romania. Well, the last car I got rid of just 8 mths ago was 15 years old !

  3. Pete Smith says:

    If the photo’s from Romania, then the car’s probably a Dacia 1300, based on the Renault 12, which first apeared in 1968 but used parts from the even earlier 8 and 10. Renault themselves stopped making the 12 in 1980, but it continued to be churned out by ‘affiliates’ worldwide for years after that. The last 12 was produced in 1999 in Turkey, but Dacia continued making derivatives of the 12 until 2004 and was still producing the 12-based Gamma pick-up last year!
    So, the average Romanian car may be 13 years old but it may well be using 40 year old technology. The major European car firms loved boosting their balance sheets by selling or licensing their obsolete models to manufacturers in the ‘Third World’ and the Eastern bloc. Fiat were notorious for palming their off creaky technology on anyone desperate for cars but too cash-strapped to set up production lines from scratch. The 124 went to Lada in Russia, the 125 and 126 went to Polski Fiat/FSO, the Strada and Panda were sold as Seats.
    How times change. You couldn’t call it clean technolgy transfer, could you?

  4. matt says:

    Yes, photo is a Dacia from a Romanian road crash.

    Times are a changin’ in the motor world. Now a Scoda is sold as Western technology for westerners. The Americans will be taken over by Toyota this year thanks to more & more Americans buying from Nippon land. The Mini & Bettle have been relived. Big cars are out, hybrids are in as the new craze of the middle classes.

    And the future? Who can tell. Maybe for my kids it will be a uranium powered ipod transporter that whizzes above the ground 🙂

  5. Pete Smith says:

    A Scoda (sic) really is Western technology. Now Skoda is part of the VW empire they get all the benefits of German R&D and quality control. These aren’t second-rate cars any more, they’re proper VWs, often with prettier bodies and more innovative design features. And they’re often more leading edge than their VW equivalents. The same goes for Skoda’s VW stablemate SEAT.

  6. keithsc says:

    So they have to do it before joining the EU. It seems like a great idea to me. Surely it is better to trade cars in if you cut emissions significantly from a new one. It must surely soon cover the pollution costs of manufacturing the new car.

  7. Dave On Fire says:


    Surely it is better to trade cars in if you cut emissions significantly from a new one. It must surely soon cover the pollution costs of manufacturing the new car.

    There is a slight chance that the technology in question is so old and dirty that this is the case; usually it is not. We often underestimate how much goesinto the manufacture of a car (I get the impression Pete Smith would know more than I on this).
    It’s a good example of why any measure to cut emissions must be carefully thought through: if one puts the onus to cut emissions on motorists, they will all buy new, cleaner cars and pollute less – but the car factories will be polluting a lot more. A better solution would be to impose emissions regulations on all new cars sold, so that no-one was tempted to buy an SUV instead of a Smart, but to let the old cars live out their natural operational lives. As more Romanians acquire the means to buy new cars, these operational lives will be shorter than under communism anyway.
    As Matt points out, though, there’s a lot more profit to be made this way, and the European Comission loves nothing more than profit.

  8. Pete Smith says:

    On the ‘scrap/recycle v keep it running’ debate. Not enough information is available on the relative environmental costs so that owners can know their vehicle has passed its ‘use by’ date. Older cars tend to be harder to recycle their components, as they weren’t designed with that in mind and modern cars use different materials (plastics/alloys).

    There are mixed messages going about. While the Romanians are subsiding scrapping, UK owners of pre-1973 cars benefit from zero Vehicle Excise Duty. Will we see a flood of 1972 Dacia 1300s imported to the UK? 😎

  9. matt says:

    Now there’s a novel idea.

    Looking to India, I’ve always fancied one of their cars, such as the Ambassador;

  10. Pete Smith says:

    Yes, the Amby, based on a 1940s Morris if I remember correctly. There was a franchise set up in the UK to sell them a few years ago, don’t know what happened to it.

    Of course, the irony is that if you imported a shiny Amby, time-warped straight from the late 1940s, you wouldn’t be able to claim zero car tax, because it was made after 1973. If you imported a beat-up 1972 model straight off a Mumbai dung-heap, you would. This in spite of the fact that the new ones have to conform to current strict environmental standards. A nonsense.

    If you prefer motorcycles, they’re still making Royal Enfields in India and selling quite a few over here.

  11. matt says:

    A bit more searching & I’ve managed to find the businessman proposing his wacky idea of manufacturing a soft top Amby in Wales. Although, no sign that this is still happening;

    Bloody expensive if you want an imported classic!

Comments are closed.