VW in line for huge fine
Sunday 25 January 1998
The penalty will be the toughest yet in part of a long campaign by Brussels to iron out differentials in car prices across the 15 EU member states. It will come less than two weeks before the publication of a separate EU report that is expected to show that the strong pound has made Britain one of the most expensive countries in Europe in which to buy a new car. Eighteen months ago, it was one of the cheapest.
Brussels believes Volkswagen forced its Italian dealers to turn away thousands of non-Italians who flocked across the border to take advantage of cheaper car prices in Italy due the weak lira. In 1994, when the Italian currency fell to an all-time low against other EU currencies, cars were up to 40 per cent cheaper in Italy than in other EU countries. Competition officials in Brussels have documentary evidence proving that Volkswagen even threatened to stop supplying cars to dealers that did not observe the illegal agreements, according to Commission sources. Under the EU's single market rules, it is illegal to stop consumers from buying products in any country they choose. The fine will be fixed at a meeting in Brussels on Tuesday night and according to one Brussels insider "will be big, very big".
Car manufacturers and distributors have long claimed that currency fluctuations are the only reason for widely differing car prices. "Trying to maintain a stable price regime in the market is hopeless with wide currency fluctuations," said a spokesman for the London-based Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. He said that while it is theoretically possible to save thousands of pounds by buying a car in another EU country where the currency is weaker, in practice few UK car hunters bother because "most people are part- exchanging the car and there is little demand for used right-hand drive cars on the continent.
- 1 Cyclist in Russia narrowly misses being hit by car and lorry
- 2 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 3 What are your fingerprint words?
- 4 Gary Lineker involved in Twitter row after presenter rubbishes claims he will be warned by BBC over foul-mouthed tweets
- 5 Pink Floyd new album: Band unveil cover art for first record in 20 years
Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
Slough train station deaths: Woman and child killed after being 'pushed in front of train'
Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
Jennifer Lawrence: Leaked 4Chan sex video branded 'fake' by users
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
iJobs Money & Business
£65000 Per Annum Benefits + bonus: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: If you are...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...