Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

Car Rebate Scheme Splutters into Action

In January, Putin suggested moving the cash-for-clunkers start forward to coincide with International Women?€™s Day. Vladimir Filonov

The government's cash-for-clunkers program, which was slated to begin on March 8, International Women's Day, is suffering from a lack of clarity and poor timing, market participants said Tuesday.

"There are more questions than answers with this program," said Denis Smetanin, head of the sales development department at car dealer Avtomir. While some dealerships were able to trade vouchers for cars, some cannot even log into the Industry and Trade Ministry's server to obtain the information necessary to make the transactions.

"The mechanism for compensating dealers for their expenditures is still unclear," Smetanin said. "In some regions, dealers have to move the cars thousands of kilometers" to deliver them to recycling plants. As a result, some dealers have to spend far more than the 5,000 rubles ($168) per car promised by the government.

Moreover, the list of recycling centers inexplicably changed this week. "The four recyclers we started working with in Moscow and the Moscow region disappeared [from the list of approved recyclers] there is a new list of six recyclers now," he said. "Not all recyclers are ready."

Vtormet, a metal recycling company in Moscow, is ready, deputy director Yury Vorontsov said. "We have installed new equipment to drain oil and other liquids from cars," he said.

And while the program was supposed to begin on Monday, Vorontsov said no cars had been brought into his shop. Starting on a holiday was problematic to begin with, since the traffic police department that registers and deregisters cars does not work on holidays, he said.

META, a recycler in Chelyabinsk, received three cars on Tuesday, two of them dating from the 1970s, RIA-Novosti reported.

Phone calls to the Industry and Trade Ministry's press office went unanswered.

Industry and Trade Minister Viktor Khristenko said at a January meeting with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that the ministry needed until March 15 to finalize the program.

"Why the 15th?" Putin asked. "Let's start with the 8th."

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more