But a key issue for both the motor industry and the commission is whether these discounts should also be extended to dealers, who would then pass on the benefits to private motorists. This has formed the basis of the National Franchised Dealers Association's campaign for dealers to enjoy the same buying terms as fleets if they buy the same volume of cars. Kingsmill said: 'Price is the thing that most people are most interested in, but price is the result of what we are investigating. Our focus is the competitive working of the market and, if there is any block on that and that then leads to higher prices, then we are interested.'
Arguments over new car pricing and supply will be aired at next Tuesday's open hearing - the first ever held by the Competition Commission - when manufacturers, importers, dealers, consumer groups and representative bodies will be able to debate their case in public. The UK's top 15 manufacturers and importers will have private hearings with the commission to discuss their answers to a comprehensive questionnaire on fleet business, sales and marketing strategies.