Fleet News

SMMT chief blasts price inquiry

THE Competition Commission's long-running inquiry into UK new car pricing has 'virtually turned into an anti-car industry campaign', according to Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders president Sir Ian Gibson. He told the SMMT's annual dinner that the inquiry - due to report on December 16 - had contributed to creating tension between the motor industry and the Government.

'The Competition Commission inquiry seems to have been conducted in an unusual manner. It has sought to raise public expectations on new car affordability and has virtually turned into an anti-car industry campaign,' he said. Pointing out that the inquiry was the second into the industry in the 1990s Gibson, who is also president of Nissan Europe, said: 'If - and it is a very big if - something needs to be sorted out in our industry, then a second inquiry in 10 years might have been just about understandable, although difficult in view of the review of block exemption that is scheduled.'

Referring to the 'open day' when a variety of people and organisations were invited to give evidence to the inquiry, Gibson claimed it turned into 'a media circus in an unhelpful way'. 'Measured and rational debates are constructive and we will take our role in them - responsible businesses will not enter headline based, shallow, adversarial slanging matches,' he said.

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