A Vauxhall dealer has ruffled the feathers of classic car fans worried by the firm’s latest incentivised trade in – by planting a 1988 Austin Maestro in a skip in a bid to entice punters on to its forecourt.

Vauxhall’s communications director Denis Chick was at pains to point out
that any pre-1991 car brought in under the scheme would be sold for parts to relevant owners’ clubs via its recycler, Autogreen; dealers could also offer to buy any classic too good to break outright and sell it on as a used car.

Enthusiasts on social media, including the Pride of Longbridge Facebook page, reacted negatively to the sight of the Maestro – a car which hasn’t seen the road since 2008 – used to advertise classics as Scrappage trade-ins.

Classics World contributor Paul Guinness commented: “Although Vauxhall has previously made assurances regarding the fate of any classics being traded in as part of the company’s latest scheme, the fact that one of its dealers is trying to attract publicity by displaying a Maestro in a skip does raise concerns. It may not have been a top-condition example, but that’s not the point. On
this evidence, will Vauxhall dealers even recognise a potential classic that’s brought to them as a trade-in?”

Motorists nationwide can receive up to £2000 off the price of a new Vauxhall until Saturday, December 31 – provided the trade in has a valid MoT and has been in the owner’s possession for 90 days. Car website Motoring Research reported that several enthusiasts tried to buy the skip-sullied Maestro from the Vauxhall dealership, without success.

The 2009 Scrappage scheme saw similar promotional stunts by dealerships. Our Classic Car Buyer colleagues snapped a Volkswagen dealer advertising the scheme, then backed by the government, using a Golf MkII in a painted and logo’d skip – weird symmetry, given that the Maestro was British Leyland’s direct equivalent. Then, as now, anti Scrappage sentiment ran high – forcing one Scottish MINI dealership to remove its Scrappage stickered Mini Sportspack after a deluge of complaints from Mini fans.

This time, you can make a difference. If a classic appears at your local Vauxhall dealership, you – or your club – should be able to take it (or parts of it) home if you think it deserves a better fate than the weighbridge.