I finally decided to scrap my 14 year old car and buy a new one.
Talked to various car salesmen, and also asked them if they are happy about the smashing success of the Abwrackprämie (the 2,500 € car scraping bonus). Contrary to my expectation (surely at least the car dealers should be happy about it, right?), their answers varied between lukewarm and very negative.
In particular, they all seemed convinced that this year's new business bonanza will equal next year's shortfall.
And they were complaining about the bureaucratic hassles involved. One guy told me that two of his customers had problems with their application being turned down for incorrect reasons (the bureaucrats claimed that the applications contained incomplete documents, even though the copies kept by the car dealer showed that the complete set had been submitted), and nearly all of them are still waiting to receive the money (apparently, the processing delays may take more than six months).
In any case, the bonus scheme led me to ditch my car a year or so earlier than I otherwise would have done. As a consequence, British and Turkish car workers have a slightly lower risk of being laid off (that's where the Toyota I am buying was produced according to the car dealer, though he was quick to emphasize that a few of the components were supplied by Bosch and other German suppliers).
But I still think it's a waste to scrap a perfectly good car with a used car value of roughly 1,000 €: Some guy in Romania or Lebanon would have been perfectly happy to drive my car for a few more years...