UK motorists still pay up to 60% more for cars
A new survey shows that Britain remains the most expensive place in the European Union to buy cars.
Forty of the models investigated by the European Commission at the beginning of May cost significantly more in the UK.
But British motorists shopping around on the Continent to save money on new cars still face long delivery times and hefty supplements, including hundreds of pounds for right-hand drive versions.
The Commission says the arrival of the euro in 12 EU countries has not narrowed the price gap, despite greater price transparency.
Within the euro-zone, the most expensive cars - in Germany and Austria - are up to 42% dearer before tax than the same model in another single currency member state.
Add non-euroland Britain, Sweden and Denmark, and the pre-tax price gap widens further - with a Fiat Seicento currently 63% dearer in Britain than in Spain; a Nissan Micra - which is built in Sunderland - 38.8% dearer than in Finland; and a Ford Focus 31.8% dearer than in Finland.
The latest figures, focusing on the 82 best-selling cars from 26 manufacturers, come just days after the Commission announced a shake-up in the way cars are sold throughout Europe.
Competition Commissioner Mario Monti announced an end to exclusive brand networks, with carmakers forced to allow their dealers to operate multi-franchise showrooms.
Today's report states: "As regards the United Kingdom, it should be noted that this market continues to be the most expensive for more than half of the models examined."
It adds: "The Commission often receives complaints from British consumers who encounter obstacles when purchasing a car in another member state, in particular concerning long delivery times or high right-hand drive supplements."