The differences between pre-tax car prices across the European Union are gradually shrinking.
The latest six-month price survey by the European Commission shows that car-price differences between EU member countries were less on November 1, 2004, than they were on May 1, 2004.
Within the euro zone, prices charged to consumers were highest in Germany and Austria and lowest in Greece and Finland. Estonia is the cheapest market in the EU.
The widest price difference is for the Opel Astra, which costs almost 50 percent more in Germany than in Denmark. Including value added tax, a person from Germany can save E3,700 if he buys the Astra in Denmark.
EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said price differences between some countries, particularly for certain models, were still significant, but the gap is closing.
Paolo Cesarini, who heads up the automotive section of Brussels' competition directorate general, said in an interview that the Commission does not as a matter of policy seek to promote price convergence, but said: "We look at price for substantial divergence as a sign of impediments to cross-border trade."
Price convergence, he added, was a sign of a "healthy market."