Car prices after Brexit: should you buy now?

Find out how manufacturers plan to change car prices in response to a no deal Brexit, and how you can avoid being caught out

Car buyers should complete their purchases soon to avoid the risk of price rises from a no-deal Brexit outcome, Which? has learned. Find out what impact car manufacturers say a no-deal Brexit will have on them and what it could mean for you. Car manufacturers are announcing their plans in the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal at the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December. Any additional costs in manufacturing and importing cars risks price rises for car buyers. Manufacturers, including Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Peugeot and Vauxhall have confirmed the prices of their cars will rise in the event of a no-deal Brexit, with others saying it would lead them to review their prices. Some manufacturers have told Which? that they’re committed to honouring the price of cars bought before the end of the transition period, but which are delivered after that date. The approach varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Find out below how much extra you could pay, plus what key car manufacturers have told us.

How much more could you pay for a car? Around 70% of cars registered in the UK are currently imported from the EU. At the moment there are no tariffs on cars imported from the EU because the UK is following EU trade rules until the transition period ends on 31 December. If the UK leaves the EU without a trade agreement, in line with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, after this date a 10% tariff will apply to finished cars imported from the EU. If a manufacturer passed on the full 10% import tariff, that would then lead to a 6.3% increase in the price you pay for a car (based on average prices and according to industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders). This is because import tariffs are levied on the customs price of a vehicle at the time of import, rather than the final price of sale. When a vehicle is sold in the UK, it will have additional taxes such as VAT and Vehicle Excise Duty added to it. Costs can also be impacted by changes in vehicle demand. In the table below, we’ve added this 6.3% increase to the purchase price of the top five bestselling UK cars to see how much prices could rise in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

An industry insider told us overall car costs would rise by around £1,800, on average, if a 10% tariff is introduced. The increase will be even more for premium-priced cars. The popular BMW X5 SUV starts from £59,135. With the 6.3% increase applied, potential buyers would see its price rise by around £3,726 to £62,861.

Will Ford put up its car prices if there’s a no-deal Brexit?
Ford makes some of the UK’s bestselling cars, including the Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus. Ford has confirmed to Which? it will price-protect orders placed prior to leaving the transition period without a deal. Ford of Britain managing director Andy Barratt said: ‘In a no-deal scenario and the imposition of a WTO 10% tariff regime on new vehicles, prices for Ford’s most popular passenger and commercial vehicles would rise by between £1,000 and £2,000. Ford said: ‘We will provide more details if or when the situation dictates.’ Ford of Europe communications executive director, John Gardiner, also said: ‘We continue to hope that all sides can reach an agreement to ensure the UK leaves the EU with a deal in an orderly manner.’ Adding that despite taking actions to mitigate the impact of not having a deal, it’s ‘impossible to avoid disruption in such a scenario’.

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