Car manufacturers are charging UK customers an average of 37% more than their European counterparts for popular optional extras like metallic paint, electric sunroofs and climate control, according to figures released by import specialist,

In addition to this, equipment which comes as ‘standard’ on some models imported from the EU can be vastly superior to the advertised ‘UK spec’. For those opting to buy from the Continent, this alarming disparity could see a doubling of their original cash saving.

Ironically, the most culpable marques – including BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Alfa Romeo, Land Rover, Seat, Volvo and Jaguar – are those where customers are most likely to order extra equipment.

“When you look beyond the original price, you can see the huge gulf between the UK and Europe,” says Peter Gregory of “And because basic specification on the same model can vary across the Continent, buyers can often find themselves with a UK spec vehicle which actually includes equipment they would otherwise have had to pay extra for as part of the original cheaper price. In some cases, we have to ask foreign dealers to strip away equipment to bring it down to UK levels!”

For example, a Volvo V40 1.9D S 5dr [115bhp] imported from Holland includes £3,400 worth of Options (eg: cruise control, Winter Pack, metallic paint) over and above the standard UK specification. Added to the £1,366 saving off the UK MRRP list price of £17,900 being offered by Eurekar, the buyer gains a £4,766 discount (26.6%).

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According to Eurekar, 3 out of 4 ‘Build To Order’ imports carry extra specification for their owners, a situation which merely amplifies the savings on offer from Europe.

The disparity in price can be as high as 64% with buyers upgrading to Maglia Cloth and Leather upholstery on a BMW 330d SE paying just £277.07 from Europe as opposed to a massive UK list price of £770.00. An electric glass sunroof on the SEAT Leon 1.9Tdi is 46% cheaper if ordered overseas.

Gregory adds: “By improving the specification and adding traditional options like metallic paint, leather seats and cruise control, buyers may be spending a little more, but they actually end up saving even more when compared to UK prices.”

“If a customer ordered a basic UK spec BMW 330d SE, they would save 12% by importing. But, by adding an extra £3,700 worth of Options like climate control, sunroof and leather sports seats, the overall saving over a UK list priced example jumps to 19%.”