90% mark-up on Hondas

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The Independent Online
BRITAIN IS still the most expensive place to buy cars in Europe, a European Commission survey showed yesterday. Of the 75 best-selling models 62 cost more in the UK than in any other EU country.

British buyers paid 80 per cent more for the Honda Civic than customers in Denmark and the Rover 214 model cost an extra pounds 3,000 in Britain compared with France, a price gap of 61 per cent.

The findings were condemned by the Consumer Association. Its senior policy researcher, Phil Evans, said: "These new figures show the rip-off is getting worse. The car industry is taking the UK consumer for a ride and treating us with utter contempt. The Government must get off the fence, take on the car industry and end the Great British rip-off."

This week, car manufacturers have failed to attend a public inquiry into an alleged monopoly, reserving their right to speak for a series of confidential hearings. The detailed survey looked at 75 cars from the 15 EU member. A Land Rover Discovery cost 42 per cent more than in France, and the Ford Mondeo 58 per cent more than in Denmark.

In executive cars, customers paid 28 per cent extra for the Vauxhall Omega than motorists in Finland. But the study said although Britain had the highest pre-tax prices, UK customers paid less than those in Denmark, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Portugal and the Netherlands when tax is considered.

Lower pre-tax prices in Finland, Denmark and Greece were due to manufacturers' pricing policies in response to the high tax on car purchase in those countries.