Electric car purchase bonus fraud? Landlord sees dubious tricks in young used vehicles

Unsuspecting customers are “drawn into a subsidy fraud” by car sellers in connection with the generous German electric car purchase bonus. The electric car rental company nextmove has made this accusation in a current video report. In essence, it is about electric car dealers using tricks to circumvent regulations that would otherwise prevent the environmental bonus from being paid out. And because the customers sign the applications themselves, they could be complicit.

Electric car purchase bonus tricks

The environmental bonus, which was raised twice last year to 3000 euros net by the manufacturer and 6000 euros from the state, has had an effect. The share of electric cars in new German registrations increased sharply in 2020, many models were sold out or had long delivery times. A side effect of the high premium was that Tesla owners were able to sell young cars, some at a profit, to Denmark, where they were in great demand at short notice due to an upcoming tax hike.

That exhausts the bonus rules, but should not be prohibited. But Nextmove now believes it has found evidence that some dealers with electric cars in Germany are going too far. In her video, the rental company describes several cases in which it is always about electric cars from the VW Group (but not about authorized dealers, but rather about free ones). In total, there should potentially be a hundred cases.


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According to nextmove, there are several different tricks. In one case, a free dealer on the Internet offered a Skoda Citigo as a new vehicle with a possible state premium of 6000 euros. In a conversation he is said to have declared that it was an EU re-import that would be made eligible by means of an “adapted invoicing”.

The next procedure described by nextmove seems more ingenious. This is based on the fact that the German electric car premium is also paid for young used cars if it has not yet been applied for. For the government subsidy of up to 5000 euros, however, they can be sold for a maximum of 80 percent of the gross new price with the manufacturer’s share deducted. Here, the car rental company was offered an electric Skoda Citigo that was above this limit, and according to the video, a customer presented documents that show how this is disguised: He received an invoice for a price that was less than 80 percent of the new price – and that too a second with “special costs for vehicle procurement”.

VW ID.3 massively affected?

According to nextmove, the new VW electric car ID.3 also appears to be “massively affected” by such practices. A customer had doubts while studying the bonus application and asked the rental company to take a look at the case: he bought a VW ID.3 1st Edition plus with a list price of just under 46,000 euros for just under 39,797 euros. In addition, he paid 5000 euros in cash and received a receipt – but the final invoice was no longer, only 34,797 euros eligible for funding. When asked, the customer was told that he should only upload this invoice with the funding application.


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