Car Pricing Scandal; Britons Pay Most for 70 of 73 Models Says the EU

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Byline: RAY MASSEY

THE 'rip-off' car prices paid by British motorists are laid bare today in an official EU report.

It shows conclusively how UK customers pay the most in Europe for their vehicles - thousands of pounds over the odds compared to drivers on the Continent.

The figures, which compare pre-tax prices, show that buyers here can pay more than double for some models.

Britain is the most expensive market for 70 of 73 best-selling models, from modest Fords and Vauxhalls to luxury Mercedes.

A Subaru Legacy with a pre-tax price in the UK of [pounds sterling]14,342 is available for [pounds sterling]7,115 in Denmark. This was the biggest price difference noted.

Two Fiat models - the Punto and Bravo - were some 91 per cent dearer in Britain than in the cheapest market, again

Denmark.

British buyers would pay [pounds sterling]6,406 for a Ford Mondeo in Denmark compared to [pounds sterling]11,834 here. A Ford Focus is 60 per cent more expensive in the UK, while the Fiesta is 51 per cent dearer.

The average price gap between similar car models in various EU markets is now 35 per cent, says the report. It comes with a warning from European Commission watchdogs that the scandal must end or legal steps will be taken.

The latest evidence shows that car prices across Europe are as wide apart as ever - with Britain still the most costly place to buy.

What makes matters worse is that UK-built vehicles are considerably more expensive here than they are after being 'exported' to the Continent. Figures show that EU pressure on carmakers to keep the price gap between identical models in different markets to less than 12 per cent, in return for exclusive dealership rights, has failed.

Officials said that in the last six months the average 20.6 per cent price difference in the 11 euro-currency member states had dropped to 19. …