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Caution is urged after latest price 'rip-off' claims

A leading automotive industry analyst is urging caution over 'rip-off' claims that car manufacturers are making up for price cut shortfalls by charging over the odds for optional equipment.

Import specialist estimates UK customers have to pay an average of 37 per cent more than their European counterparts for extras like metallic paint, electric sunroofs and climate control.

It also claims equipment which comes as standard on some imported models can be vastly superior to the advertised UK spec, and singles out BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Ford PAG brands as the worst offenders. But Jay Nagley, managing director of analyst Spyder Automotive, disagrees. He says that in general UK specification is superior to the EU markets' and that any suggestion of a new consumer 'rip-off' cannot be taken seriously.

“There's a grain of truth in the argument that optional extras are more expensive here than in the EU, but saying there's a huge gap is a bit silly,” says Nagley.

“It's impossible to come up with a precise figure because options lists are constructed in different ways here and in Europe.”

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