AM Online

Euro spells danger for online importers

Car importers are under threat from a strengthening euro, which is making prices of cars sourced in mainland Europe more expensive, according to internet retailer Showroom4cars.com. It believes importers will need to reappraise their services and improve customer support.

The warning comes as another online supplier calls in the receivers. Stafford-based Automodena appointed administrators BDO Stoy Hayward after collapsing with debts of £800,000. In December, used car sales locator Auto Online crashed after investors pulled out funds.

Market analysts expect the euro to rise in value now it is in use in participating countries.

Tony Butterfield, Showroom4cars business development manager, said: “If an upwards trend is established and can be sustained, imports into the UK from the eurozone countries will become more expensive.”

BMW is the first carmaker to announce standardised pricing in eurozone countries. The deal, which applies only to the 7 Series, will not affect UK buyers unless the Government decides to join the single currency.

Should other carmakers follow suit, it would “eliminate the business models of just about every car importer in the UK”, said Mr Butterfield.

But he added: “I don't see every manufacturer taking the same view as BMW. In order to stimulate demand in the high-tax European countries, they will still incentivise their pre-tax prices.”

MSN's Carview buying facility, part of Microsoft, is offering imported cars alongside UK-sourced new and used models after signing an agreement with Oneswoop.com.

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