HC Deb 31 January 2003 vol 398 cc1058-9W
Mr. Gray

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent study she has made of new car prices in(a) the UK and (b) other EU countries; [92814]

(2)whether her Department monitors the regulations designed to ensure that private buyers receive the same level of discounts on new car purchases as fleet buyers; and what research she has undertaken as to whether the regulations are ensuring that private car buyers do not subsidise fleet buyers. [92756]

Miss Melanie Johnson

The Office of Fair Trading is responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of the Supply of New Cars Order 2000. The Order is one of several factors influencing car prices. These include a renegotiated block exemption from EU competition rules for vehicle supply and servicing introduced on 1 October 2002.

The EC publishes a six-monthly study of list prices of new cars, across a range of countries and across a range of models. In the UK, the Alliance & Leicester in conjunction with What Car?, publishes a monthly survey of new car prices.

The DGFT has a statutory duty to keep the Order under review. At the beginning of last year the DGFT published a report on an investigation into alleged breaches of the Order by three major car suppliers following a complaint from the National Franchised Dealer Association and the Consumers Association. This concluded that the anti-discrimination rules of the Order covering sales to fleet customers and sales to dealers had not been broken.