HC Deb 19 March 1998 vol 308 c716W
Mrs. Dunwoody

To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) what action she intends to take to remove trade barriers which prevent United Kingdom car buyers purchasing right-hand drive cars elsewhere in the European Union. [34771]

(2) what action she is taking to require car manufacturers to make available new right-hand drive cars to United Kingdom citizens elsewhere in the European Union; [34772]

(3)if she will use the UK's presidency of the European Union to ensure that new car buyers from the UK are given the right to buy a car in any country within the Union. [34773]

Mr. Nigel Griffiths

[holding answer 18 March 1998]: I am determined to ensure that there are not such barriers to UK consumers. EC competition law prohibits manufacturers from restricting the freedom of consumers to obtain new right-hand drive cars from whichever authorised dealer they choose within the European Community.

In January the European Commission, which enforces EC competition law, fined Volkswagen ecu 102 million (about £67 million) for prohibiting its dealers in Italy from selling cars to buyers from Germany and Austria. DTI officials are currently discussing with the Commission what the implications of this case are for UK consumers wishing to buy right-hand drive cars elsewhere in the European Community.