Fleet News

Single currency the proviso for price harmonisation, say car makers

MOTOR manufacturers support moves towards new car price harmonisation but, for it to occur, the Government must pursue the goals of a single European currency and tax harmonisation across the European Union with more enthusiasm. Speaking at a Guild of Motoring Writers lunch, Roger King, deputy chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said that over time prices would harmonise across the continent.

But, he added, for that to happen, both tax harmonisation and a single currency within the EU must take place. And on the day after UK interest rates increased 0.25% to 5.25% - widening the gulf with countries which have signed up to the single currency - King questioned the Government's resolve towards establishing a market in the UK where prices could harmonise. With manufacturers in the UK accused of operating a pricing cartel, King suggested that, if this was the case, then large profits would be being made by car makers.

'But wherever you look within the industry, that is not the case. PSA this week announced half-year results which showed operating income in the car division amounted to 3.5% of sales. Wherever you look you cannot find excessive profits being made, he said, and added: 'Cars represent better value than at any other time in the history of the motor industry and their price should not reflect price exchange fluctuations like copper and bananas.'

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