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Car prices: lower in new Member States and converging in the euro zone

This MEMO gives additional data in relation to the press release on the Car price report.


The methodology used is the same as that employed in previous reports: a total of 18 European and 8 Japanese manufacturers supplied the Commission with their recommended retail prices, as of 1 May 2004, for 90 among the best-selling models.

The reference price for the calculation of differentials for any model is that of the cheapest country within the euro zone. Prices are adjusted for differences in standard equipment, and are given in euro and, where applicable, local currency[1], both before and after tax. Prices for major options and for right-hand drive specification are also supplied, together with other information. For some models, further options and variations in standard equipment may exist on certain national markets. It should also be noted that actual retail prices may differ from recommended list prices, as dealers must be free to propose lower prices and to offer additional financial benefits to customers, depending on the market.

Prices are stable in the EU

According to Eurostat figures on inflation, the convergence as shown by the Report takes place in a context of relative price stability in the EU as a whole and in most of each Member State:

Year-on-year change in price index (May 2004 compared with May 2003)

Euro zone Cars headline inflation EU-25 Cars Headline inflation
Belgium 0.2 2.4 Czech Republic -1.9 2.6
Germany 1.7 2.1 Denmark 2.5 1.1
Greece 0.0 3.1 Estonia -5.8 3.7
Spain 1.4 3.4 Cyprus -14.7 1.2
France 1.3 2.8 Latvia 8.9 6.1
Ireland 1.5 2.1 Lithuania -5.4 1.0
Italy -1.1 2.3 Hungary 3.4 7.8
Luxembourg 0.9 3.4 Malta 4.1* 3.0
Netherlands 1.7 1.7 Poland 8.7 3.5
Austria 1.1 2.1 Slovenia 5.2 3.9
Portugal 1.3 2.4 Slovakia 2.5 8.2
Finland -2.9 -0.1 Sweden 0.8 1.5
Euro zone 0.8 2.4 United Kingdom 0.3 1.5
Source: Eurostat

EU 0.9 2.4

Some highlights within the euro zone

Price differences for a selection of best-selling cars (expressed as percentages of prices in euro before tax, comparing the most expensive with the cheapest euro zone market) on 1 May 2004 were as follows:

Small segments
A and B: 1/5/2004 1/11/2003 1/5/2003
Opel Corsa 16.3% 13.6% 16.8%
FIAT Punto 21.1% 23.1% 29.1%
Renault Clio 27.0% 17.3% 14.0%
Peugeot 206 15.6% 24.6% 29.4%
VW Polo 17.3% 19.3% 17.8%

Medium segment C: 1/5/2004 1/11/2003 1/05/2003
VW Golf 28.3% 28.0% 29.3%
Opel Astra 16.6% 17.6% 16.2%
Ford Focus 20.0% 22.7% 24.4%
Renault Mégane 19.4% 19.6% 19.7%
Peugeot 307 17.5% 16.9% 18.3%

Large car segments
D, E and F: 1/5/2004 1/11/2003 1/05/2003
BMW 318I 12.5% 12.7% 15.8%
Audi A 4 10.3% 9.1% 10.4%
Ford Mondeo 20.2% 21.0% 22.6%
Mercedes C180 3.7% 5.9% 5.9%
VW Passat 30.8% 39.0% 36.4%

Cheap and expensive Member States

Germany and, to a lesser extent Austria, rank, as for the previous report, as the most expensive markets in the Union for the models surveyed. In Germany, 23 models are sold to consumers at the highest prices in the euro zone, and 18 are between 20% and 31% more expensive than in the cheapest national market within the euro zone. In Austria, 10 models are at least 20 % more expensive than in the cheapest euro-zone country. The number of examples of such high price differentials has slightly decreased since the report of last year, when 24 models in Germany and 11 in Austria fell into this category. Within the euro zone, the cheapest market is Finland, where virtually one out of four models is sold at the lowest price in the euro zone. In EU-15 prices in Denmark are the lowest: 7% below those in Finland. In EU-25, Poland is now the cheapest countries, with prices 9 % lower than in Finland.

General Information

With a view to increasing transparency and providing better information to the public, the Competition Directorate General provides easy access to data by making the report available on its Website:

Press release, condensed electronic version of the report and manufacturers’ price tables:

Full paper copy of the report:

At the Commission Offices in the Member States

Addresses available on the Internet at

Information centres for car buyers (telephone “hotlines”):

[1] The euro rates used for conversion are those published in the Official Journal C 128 of 4.05.2004, p.1.
Pierre Perrin-Monlouis
Pierre Perrin-Monlouis
Fondateur de Rente et Patrimoine (cabinet de gestion de patrimoine), Pierre Perrin-Monlouis est un analyste et trader pour compte propre. Il vous fait profiter de son expérience en trading grâce à ses analyses financières et décrypte pour vous les actualités des marchés. Son approche globale des marchés combine à la fois l'analyse technique et l'analyse fondamentale sur l'ensemble des marchés : crypto, forex, actions et matières premières.