Jul 10, 2005

Irish car prices s are the dearest in Europe

Irish cars are the dearest in Europe - Ireland - Times Online

(My view - is it fair to compare prices in countries where earnings and other forms of taxation are not the same. Ireland chooses to tax vehicles - maybe to reduce co2 emissions - that is their choice. There are plenty of new cars on the road - so the prices must be OK for many people?)
IRISH car-buyers are being charged up to €8,200 more than their EU counterparts for the 10 leading models, a Sunday Times analysis has found.

Because of vehicle registration tax (VRT), the biggest-selling cars in Ireland are on average €3,000 dearer than in the 11 other eurozone countries.

The study found that within the eurozone, Irish car-buyers pay the most for five of the most popular vehicles, and the republic is second or third dearest for the other five models in the top 10 list.

Motorists’ representatives say the analysis proves that VRT in Ireland is leading to “extortionate” car prices. The EU has already branded the tax unfair.

Cyril McHugh, chief executive of the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI), said: “Motorists should be screaming at the government over this tax. As the figures show, it forces Irish people to pay way over the EU norm and makes a joke of the idea of a single market when it comes to buying cars.”

Conor Faughnan of the AA said: “VRT is a cynical tax. It was brought in by the government when excise duty had to be abolished, in order to keep generating revenue from motorists. Technically it’s legal, but it’s not fair. Irish motorists are forced to pay between 20% to 30% more for our cars than other EU countries.”

The Toyota Corolla is the best selling car in Ireland, according to statistics compiled last December. EU figures show that a 1.4 litre version in the republic sells for €21,260. The same car can be purchased for an average of €16,562 in the eurozone and is on offer in Germany for just €14,550. It costs €14,621 in Italy, €15,167 in France and €15,195 in Spain.

The Toyota Avensis is the No 2 seller in Ireland, where a 1.8 litre model costs €27,220. The average price in the eurozone is €22,900. In Italy the model sells for €18,980, €8,240 less. It’s slightly more expensive in Finland and Portugal than in Ireland, but is cheaper at €19,485 in Spain and €19,649 in France.

A 1.6 litre Ford Focus costs €22,275 in Ireland, compared with €16,018 in France, and is on average €4,013 cheaper in the rest of the eurozone. The Volkswagen Golf is €18,037 in Ireland for a 1.4 litre model, compared with €14,525 in Greece and an average of €16,058 across the zone.

Similar differences are recorded for other major models. A 1.5 litre Nissan Almera, for example, is €19,035 in Ireland, but averages at €15,852.

The figures also show that Ireland is among the dearest when all 25 EU countries are included. For the five leading models, only Denmark is dearer, which has a taxation system that can more than double the pre-tax price of new cars.

The UK is significantly cheaper with the Toyota Corolla costing €5,670 less, and the Avensis and Ford Focus being €7,270 and €5,220 cheaper respectively.

McHugh said: “When VRT was introduced 12 years ago it contributed €196m to the exchequer. Now this figure is almost €1 billion, yet there has been no let up on the car-buyer. We want a reduction and ultimately we want the tax to be abolished.”

Motoring groups argue that the tax limits the size of the Irish car market, and VRT means Irish motorists do not get the same level of equipment in their cars despite paying more. In some cases safety equipment, standard in other EU countries, is optional in Ireland to keep the price of cars down.

VRT has to be paid on all new and imported cars in Ireland. It is additional to Vat and is calculated as a percentage of the expected retail price of a car at rates of between 22.5% or 30% depending on engine size. Some countries in the EU have similar systems but do not charge as much.

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