Europeans planning their next car purchase may want to consider a trip to Denmark, the country that was on Tuesday revealed to have the lowest car prices in the European Union.

Within the 12-nation eurozone Germany is the most expensive and Finland the cheapest place to buy vehicles, according to a survey by the European Commission. Brussels pointed out that the price of a Ford Focus was almost 30 per cent lower in Finland compared to Germany last year – the greatest difference among countries that use the single currency.

This meant consumers could potentially save about €4,000 ($4,800, £2,800) by turning to dealers on the other side of the Baltic Sea.

The Commission’s car price report is intended as a guide to consumers, but it also shows how – despite a single currency and a broadly functioning internal market – prices continue to differ markedly between EU member states. Tuesday’s survey found that price differences have actually been stable in recent years, suggesting that further convergence is unlikely.

Denmark and Hungary, both not members of the eurozone, are the cheapest countries in the EU, while the Czech Republic is the most expensive, with car prices on average 7.3 per cent higher than elsewhere in the union. However, on the whole, the 10 “new” member states who joined the EU in 2004 are cheaper than the old member states in western Europe.

The prices compared by the Commission are pre-tax prices, since consumers buying cars outside their home country are only liable to pay their taxes at home.

In general, cars are becoming more affordable, the report said, pointing out that “consumer prices for cars have increased significantly less than headline inflation”. Automobile groups had even lowered their prices in eastern European countries, especially for small cars, in an attempt to capture market share among consumers with lower incomes.

“These price changes are consistent with the long-term trend, which shows that, during recent years prices for cars have tended to increase significantly less than the average price for other products,” the Commission said.

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