Adding more fuel to the political debate between the European Commission and vehicle manufacturers over pricing stability in the region, the European Union says new vehicle price differences within the EU remain unnecessarily high.
Germany, Austria and the U.K. are cited as countries where prices are as much as 20% higher than in the rest of the EU. The study’s findings give further credence to plans by the EU to remove the “block exemption” status from auto makers later this year.
The exemption has enabled auto manufacturers to dictate where dealerships can be located and how vehicles should be priced in each country. The EC recently recommended EU countries drop the exemption status, prohibiting vehicle manufacturers from dictating dealer locations and pricing. Final approval on the removal of the exemption is expected in July.
“Our monitoring of price differentials confirms that there is significant room for improving market conditions in the motor vehicle sector,” EU Competition Commissioner Mario Monti says in a prepared statement.
The findings, he notes, should encourage the EC to move ahead with plans to drop the exemption status for auto makers.
Additionally, the EU found consumers in the U.K. are paying more for right-hand-drive vehicles purchased outside their home country.
Corp., Fiat Auto SpA, PSA Peugeot Citroen and Volkswagen AG were singled out by the EU as having the widest price differences in the region. AG, DaimlerChrysler AG and Motor Co. were found to have more harmonization in vehicle pricing throughout the region.