LONDON: The latest Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) New Car Price Index has
confirmed what many UK new car buyers still suspect: even though manufacturers
have cut prices a significant difference with the rest of Europe still remains.

The index, based on new car prices on 15th November, shows that UK prices are
still 24% higher than the average for euro currency countries.

However, since 17th August, car makers have made some significant price reductions
in the UK on many models and overall prices have dropped, but only by 4.6%.

UK buyers can take a little comfort from the fact that they’re not paying Europe’s
highest prices. Retail lists in southern Ireland (Eire), Finland, Norway and
Denmark are all higher than the UK but that’s due to the higher car tax levied
in those countries.

CSFB also measures pre-tax prices with adjustments for specification differences
in the various markets. This brings even worse news for UK buyers: their pre-tax
figures are the highest in Europe at 35% above the euro currency country average.

Greece, on the other hand, has the lowest average pre-tax prices at 16% less
than the average.

“The recent price reductions in the UK have marginally narrowed the significant
gap with the rest of Europe but the continued strength of sterling remains a
barrier to any significant moves towards price harmonisation with the rest of
Europe,” noted Joseph Harrigan, vice-president of equity research at CSFB.