Fleet News

UK price row rumbles on as EU promises further investigations

BRITISH buyers are continuing to complain to the European Commission about long delivery times and right hand drive supplements imposed when they try to import new cars from the Continent.

Mario Monti, EC competition commissioner, said the complaints would be taken into account as part of the commission's ongoing review of the block exemption. Despite the depreciation of Sterling, and even falling car prices in the UK, this country still had the most expensive pre-tax prices for 52 of the 81 cars covered by the EC survey.

High tax states such as Greece, Finland, Netherlands and Denmark had the lowest pre-tax prices, a reflection of manufacturer pricing strategies to make cars affordable to consumers.

Within the Euro-zone, Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo have reduced their price differentials to within 15%, although differentials continue to be extreme for mainstream cars. Pre-tax prices of the Ford Mondeo, for example, differ by 29.8%, and prices of the Volkswagen Golf vary by 30.1%.

A spokesman for the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders called for a pan-European comparison of retail, rather than pre-tax new car prices 'which would show the UK has very favourable prices to buy a new car.'

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