Fleet News

New car prices still differ across Europe

New figures confirm a recent study by the European Commission that pre-tax car prices still differ greatly from country to country in Europe.

A new report, issued by eurocarprice.com the company that tracks and compares prices of new and used cars across Europe, found that there has been virtually no convergence in prices across Europe during the past three years.

Car manufacturers continue to set widely varying pre-tax prices for their products both within the Euro currency zone and outside it, eurocarprice.com said.

Earlier this year an EC report that suggested price differentials were 'still substantial', and EC Competition Commissioner Mario Monti said: 'There is significant room for improving market conditions in the motor vehicle sector.'

In its latest European Car Pricing Quarterly Review, eurocarprice.com found that even when manufacturers adjust pre-tax prices for specification and local market differences, they vary from as much as 10% above the eurozone average in Germany to 15% below in Greece.

The report found that on average the variance between pre-tax prices across the eight eurozone countries measured in the index, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain, is virtually unchanged from March 1999.

'The pre-tax index shows that the Euro has not had a levelling effect on prices and that manufacturers have persisted with their tendency to set low prices in countries where taxes are high and vice versa,' said Rick Yarrow of eurocarprice.com.

'This may change now that the Euro has made the price differences that exist between neighbouring countries far more transparent to consumers.'

Professor Peter Cooke, head of the Centre for Automotive Industries Management at Nottingham Business School, said: 'It would appear that the initiative on price harmonisation is indeed being taken up by the motor manufacturers.

'As they introduce new products with a common base price the eurozone, consumers will clearly see the effect of their country's taxes on the final retail price, thus shifting the focus of any discontent with price differentials away from the manufacturers and on to the tax raising authorities.'

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