Latest figures produced as part of the eurocarprice.com European New Car Price Index, published in association with PricewaterhouseCoopers, show an average increase of 4.6%.
PricewaterhouseCoopers' Autofacts retailer capabilities division said: 'As the supply of vehicles continues to increase and the effects of Block Exemption begin to work their way through the system, it appears as though prices will begin to converge at a higher level than when the regulation was first introduced.'
Of the 19 countries covered by the price index, Poland experienced the biggest increases, up 12.3% during the 12 months to December 2003. At the other end of the scale, prices in Finland increased by only 0.2%.
Eurocarprice.com operations director Robin Goodyer added: 'While some of the European markets will see some growth in 2004, they are unlikely to satisfy manufacturers' increased revenue requirements without price rises higher than those experienced in recent years.
Examples of retail increases across Europe
Country/12 month price trend
The Netherlands 6.9%
Western Europe avg 4.6%