Fleet News

'Rip-off Britain' car prices are by no means the highest in Europe

NEW car buyers in Britain pay 24% more for their vehicles than the European average, but by no means the highest prices in Europe. A new monthly retail price index shows that Great Britain is the fifth most expensive new car market in Europe, behind Ireland, Finland, Norway and Denmark.

It also shows that new car prices in Britain rose significantly slower than the European average over the past 12 months, and at almost half the rate of the Euro zone countries.

The Credit Suisse First Boston Base Price New Car Price index, compiled by eurocarprice.com, promises to offer a more sophisticated monthly analysis of new car prices than the EC's half-yearly pre-tax price comparison that is published two and a half months after the data is collected.

Covering 19 European countries and based on the weighted, detailed analysis of over 2,000 vehicles, it shows that British buyers pay less tax on their new cars than any other nationality in Europe, apart from Switzerland and Germany. This helps to explain why the pre-tax price of cars in Britain, according to the index, is 34% above the European average - still the highest in Europe.

'For many models, UK consumers can purchase vehicles in the UK at prices that are within 10-15% of prices in the Netherlands, when taking into account the high levels of discounts available,' said Rick Yarrow, director of Automotive Directions, the company behind eurocarprice.com.

'However, when importing vehicles, UK consumers can take advantage of pre-tax prices in the Netherlands which are on average 30% lower than in the UK and pay 17.5% VAT compared to nearly 50% paid by Dutch consumers. This is because tax is payable in the country of use, irrespective of the point of vehicle purchase.'

Full report in Fleet News Europe August edition due out on August 1.

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