HC Deb 23 March 1999 vol 328 c139W
Mr. Letwin

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will ensure that, as a condition for any grant, BMW will sell cars in the UK at prices equal to or below the prices charged for the same cars elsewhere in the European Union. [76758]

Mr. Battle

[holding answer 15 March 1999]: The offer of support for Longbridge is based upon being satisfied that the project will meet a number of key criteria, including the improvement of skills levels, improvements in productivity and the securing of substantial investment by BMW. It would be inappropriate, however, to place individual competitive restraints on Rover/BMW as a condition of any aid package.

A recent report by the European Commission on car prices in the European Union showed that price differences had significantly decreased since the previous report but that the UK continued to be the most expensive market for many models. We shall be encouraging the Commission, as part of the evaluation on the cars block exemption, to identify the reasons for these price differences.