The latest European Commission report on car pricing indicates that price differences measured on November 1, 1998 have 'significantly decreased' when compared with a similar survey carried out on May 1, 1998. However, it also added that pricing changes among manufacturers had also made a difference, with rises in some of the cheapest countries having the most effect.
And in a statement, the EC told car makers it was still faced with many complaints by customers, mainly UK residents, who encountered 'obstacles' on car purchase in other member states. The report was immediately welcomed by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders as a vindication of its claims that manufacturers were not to blame for much of the price difference between countries.
The EC report showed that a British-built Rover 214 has the largest price difference between the most expensive country, the UK, and the cheapest country, France. It is 51.9% more expensive in the UK.
The Consumers' Association renewed attacks it made to the Trade and Industry select committee that the car industry was 'ripping off' consumers, using high prices for private buyers to supplement fleet discounts.