ECONOMY

Cars still relatively expensive

Brussels – Buying a car in Greece is cheap compared to most European Union countries, but prices are still quite expensive relative to the Greeks’ average income, according to data released yesterday by Eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency. Prices are the ones actually paid by consumers, with all taxes included. According to the data, the prices of cars in Greece average 93 percent of the EU average, making Greece the second cheapest place overall to buy a car. Only Luxembourg, with its very low taxes, is cheaper. There is a cutoff point above and below 1,700 cubic centimeters (in engine displacement). For cars up to 1,700cc, prices in Greece are 89 percent of the EU average, while for cars larger than that, prices rise to 109 percent of EU average. This reflects the far higher tax burden on bigger cars, even after the considerable tax cuts implemented this autumn. When one takes into account households’ average consumer expenses, however, buying a car no longer seems cheap to the Greeks. Greek households’ average consumption is 80 percent of the EU average. Thus, paying 93 percent of the average for a car makes it a comparatively expensive proposition. In this respect, a car purchase is cheapest for the Swedes, where household consumption is at 117 percent of the EU average, while car prices are at 94 percent. On the other end of the scale are the Portuguese, with a household consumption equal to 74 percent of EU average and car prices at 114 percent.