R-O-B; some hard figures - Aprilia
There is often debate in the BR as to the extent of \'rip off Britain\'. I decided to do a bit of research and so have obtained parts prices in the UK and in the US, for a range of service parts for one of my cars. The car is a 1998 Nissan Maxima/QX (\'A32\' chassis).

The parts prices are listed below. The first price is from a UK Nissan main dealer; the second price (in US $) is from a Nissan main dealer in Denver, Co. I have then converted the US price into UK sterling using an exchange rate of £1=$1.57 and given a sterling equivalent price (in parenthesis). All of these prices are retail, no discount, and exclude sales taxes/VAT.

Note that apart from the pollen filter all of the parts are the same Nissan part number.


PART..................UK...........US
Oil filter..........£8.34.........£4.45 (£2.83)
Air Filter..........£14.22........£7.52 (£4.78)
Fuel filter.........£11.70.......$10.66 (£6.79)
Drain Washer........£1.29.........$1.46 (£0.93) - Bolt AND washer
Pollen filter......£28.00........$43.56 (£27.74)
6x NGK Pt. plugs...£82.49........$50.28 (£32.03)
Ex. starter.......£249.00 ......$247.88 (£157.88)
Front pads.........£48.70........$50.28 (£32.03)

I think that this makes pretty interesting reading. Many parts are a factor 2-4 more expensive in the UK. I really do not believe that this can be accounted for by different shipping/marketing costs etc. For certain parts (e.g. the started motor) there could be a good saving in buying from the US (assuming one doesn\'t get stung for too much import tax).
I am now trying to get a list of prices from a German dealer. I know the parts are cheaper over there (I bought a set of Pt. plugs from a Munich dealer for about Euro60) - but I want to see the full picture.
R-O-B; some hard figures - Aprilia
Sorry - formating of list went all wrong when the post appeared. Hopefully you can make sense of it.
R-O-B; some hard figures - Mark (RLBS)
I changed it. Its still not good, but perhaps its a little better.
R-O-B; some hard figures - Jonathan {p}
Aprilla

Well done for this.

However, its not quite that simple. The value of currencies is not the same. the living costs in US isn't the same as over here so different factors have to be taken into account. You also have to factor in shipping costs and the difference between US derived goods and UK/EU goods where raw materials and production costs will differ.

You can probably buy a 4 bed detached house in Denver in a nice suburb for about $150k, that's about the same as the UK (£150k). Use this as a conversion and the numbers are about the same, Its more than likely the same when smaller items are concerned, a mars bar probably costs 35 cents there and 35p here.
However use the exchange rates and the UK property looks very much more expensive than the US one, even though average wages are about the same (numerically).


The main reason goods and services are so expensive here is because we have the highest property values and land prices in the western world.

I would be interested in the German one, which would be a much better comparison. (Don't forget to include taxes in those calcs).

Regards

Jonathan

R-O-B; some hard figures - Flat in Fifth
Yes Aprilia Well done indeed.

"However use the exchange rates and the UK property looks very much more expensive than the US one, even though average wages are about the same (numerically)."

Unless you are an engineer!

"the numbers are always the same"

Thats the key point.

Using the universal MaccyD cost of living index.

Something thats 99p in UK is 99cents in USA. (current XR ~ $1.54/£1)

and is 99cents in Germany (current XR ~ 1.47 euro/£1)

Now don't tell me that employment costs are the same in Germany as in UK.

I can agree in some ways that the main fault is land and property, eg typical hotel rates.

But everything? Just take a long drive across Europe and it hits you in the face everytime you get out of the car. From the filling station to the service area shop / cafe / hotel .....

R-O-B; some hard figures - Marcos{P}
After buying my W211 E-Class I regretted not having the hands free phone system installed. I have now had the full system done and it is brilliant but it has cost me nearly 1,800quid. The same thing fitted by a German M.B dealer would cost 1000 euros.
I would have gone over to Germany to get it done but as the company paid and I dont have a lot of time I got it fitted here.
Just to buy the components over here for the fibre kit etc. costs more than 1000 and thats without fitting.
R-O-B; some hard figures - gbh
After falling into the same dilema as you I recently purchased a w211 E220 CDI without the factory car kit and after several altercations with many dealers the best quote I've recieved is (sit down first) £3000:00 plus as far as the install is concerned I'm confident I could do this myself but without the part numbers I can't even find out the cost of the parts let alone order them if you or anyone else can help I would really apreciate it
R-O-B; some hard figures - No Do$h
There are a number of people on ebay advertising Mercedes service and parts CDs. I'm sure if you contacted them with your requirements they may be able to locate a "spare" w211 parts CD for a small fee. Most parts and service CDs end up going for between £7 and £15. Well worth it!
R-O-B; some hard figures - Aprilia
I lived in the Boston area for a year in the 1980's and at the moment earn a lot of my income by working in Germany.

Certainly, in the 1980's I could earn twice my UK wage in real terms in the US. In terms of what I could buy, I was more than twice as well off as I would have been in the UK.
I remember visiting Seattle and buying some music CD's. I was surprised to find they were UK made. I was even more surprised to get back to the UK and find that those exact same titles were over twice the price here!
Obviously I don't know what has happened to wages since then.

As to Germany. Well I can earn substantially more in Germany than I can in the UK. The hourly rate for engineering consultancy is about 50% higher over there in *real terms*. Coupled with lower living costs, the German engineer is a lot better off than his UK counterpoint. You would be surprised how many British people there are living in Munich, and they're generally not keen to come back here.

The Nissan parts I've listed are made in Japan and cost the same wherever they're destined to go. The additional costs are shipping and distribution in the destination country. I find it hard to believe that distribution costs vary that much - seriously, how can an oil filter in the US retail at 30% of its UK price (excluding taxes)? The UK is a small country with a relatively sophisticated distribution network. The US is vast in comparison - I can't believe that distribution costs are lower over there.
R-O-B; some hard figures - THe Growler
Your analysis is conceptually right on even we argue about the exactitude of the figures. Even where I live I get my parts from the US. I have them Fedexed (you usually get free shipping over a certain value) to a pal in the US who then ships them via the US Postal Service to my PO Box. I pay some customs duty but it's negotiable and minimal for the most part.

Just about everything in the UK is a scam, forget all the economists' excuses and rationales, fact is everything is over-priced compared with ROW. It doesn't matter a rat's ass what the cost drivers are, the reality is the impact on your wallet.

Here we have a number of agencies who will take orders from you for anything you want from a US catalog and charge you catalog price plus a shipping and clearing fee. They consolidate with their US ordering end and ship customers' orders once every week by air in bulk. Let's say I order a widget by internet Monday and quote my AX number. They will source and procure the item and ship it the following Monday as part of their daily shipment based on a weekly cycle. I get it delivered to my door Wednesday.

Business opportunity for someone over your way I would have thought?
R-O-B; some hard figures - Cardew
The disparity in prices between UK and USA never ceases to amaze me, although some of these e.g. petrol, can to a large extent be accounted for by the difference in taxation.

I would concede that the majority of consumable items are cheaper in the USA - however it is not all one way by any means.

For instance a 7 day course of anti-biotic tablets cost $89.60(£57) from a supermarket pharmacy; the same tablets from a UK pharmacy(without a NHS prescription) cost £15.40(I checked). Also a 1 hour visit to the Emergency room of the local hospital to get them prescribed cost $798(£508).

A lot of food(in Florida) is now comparable in price - or more expensive - than UK. For instance tomatoes are $2.99/lb + 6% tax(£2/lb).

This is from an earlier thread:-

"If you investigate closely they are not quite as cheap as they appear - particularly at the lower end of the market. For instance the Hyundai Accent is advertised in Florida at a headline price of $7,995(approx £5100). However that doesn't include delivery, tax and other charges. It is also for a basic model that would have to be on special order - in practice just about unobtainable. To get a current (2004) model with Auto and Air Conditioning(essential) you will pay closer to $14,000(£8,900) to drive out of the door. Even if you bargain really hard - you know the dealer invoice price. A Dodge Neon is about £10,000."

Having said that I have just paid £4.19 for a pack of four AAA batteries that I can buy for $1.99 in the USA!
R-O-B; some hard figures - eMBe {P}
There is often debate in the BR as to the extent
of \'rip off Britain\'.

I think that this makes pretty interesting reading.>>


These kind of stats prove just that the cost of living is different in different parts of the world.

Look at Dover/Folkstone, then go across the channel 30 miles to Calais. Try and buy a similar spec house on either side of the channel. 30 miles proves to be a big difference.

As another poster pointed out, in the USA you may get cheaper motoring, but then you pay much much more for the health care. I have had many offers over the years to move to California, but have always declined (despite the beautiful climate & landscape)after taking account of all my circumstances.

If you want a real measure of where is the right place to live, just ask any immigrant/asylum seeker why tehy prefer the UK to Germany or France.
R-O-B; some hard figures - THe Growler
>>If you want a real measure of where is the right place to live, just ask any immigrant/asylum seeker why they prefer the UK to Germany or France.

Well not surprising. They get free accommodation, free food, a form to fill in if they have a complaint about their treatment, and lately I have it on authority they are now given money to buy cars because that's cheaper than giving them a travel allowance. That allows them to hang around Tunbridge Wells staring at young women like my daughter and making her feel threatened. Don't tell me the cost of all this loony liberal generoisyt doesn't find it's way into the retail price index.

Meanwhile my daughter can't get a cent out of the UK gov't to help her as a student despite my 20 years of paying tax. Limp-wristed left wing bleeding heart liberalism gone mad. Decent citizens are strangers in their own country. If I'd have put all that money into mutuals all those years instead of entrusting it to successive profligate and incompoetent governments she'd have a house in Weybridge by now.

My American friends are complaining about $2 gas. I say try the UK $6 gas.


R-O-B; some hard figures - nick
Any chance of keeping this forum on the subject of motoring? If I want politics I'll go elsewhere.
R-O-B; some hard figures - HF
Fair enough Nick, but if you read Aprilia's opening post, and those that follow it, this is indeed a motoring-related thread.

Obviously if threads degenerate into purely political posts then the mods will step in and take action. However in this case I personally would say that everything said here so far is relevant to the original subject topic, and I agree with it all entirely.

And if asylum seekers are getting free cars/driving lessons/whatever, then that is both motoring-related and relevant to any of us living in Britain, no? Well I think so anyway.

HF
R-O-B; some hard figures - nick
HF, I would have thought 'limp-wristed left-wing liberalism gone mad' could be construed as political, wouldn't you? The very difficult issue of asylum seekers and how they should be treated has very little to do with motoring.
What I do get fed up with though, is the almost constant whinging about this country, not just in this forum, but throughout the media. But (un)surprisingly, very few people have constructive alternatives to very real problems. And, of course, the grass is always greener elsewhere. We live in one of the richest countries in the world, in arguably the safest time in its history. Our standard of living on any objective level is at its highest. Perhaps we should take a leaf from a redneck bumper sticker in the USA, 'UK, love it or leave it'? Let's get life's problems into perspective.
Still, enough of this, back to camshafts and oily rags...
R-O-B; some hard figures - HF
Hi Nick,

I didn't actually (I think) say that there was nothing of a political nature at all about some of the posts. Simply that the points raised bore a relation to motoring which personally I feel was valid.

Without wishing to go off on a limb here (and do the very thing which annoys you so much!), it's not surprising that us motorists who buy our own cars, pay for our own lessons, and all the other expenses associated with driving, of which there are many, should become a little narked at seeing others getting preferential treatment. This breeds resentment, which is rife in this country at the moment.

I won't say any more about that because I don't want to take the subject further off the original topic.

Enjoy your oily rags - I'll start a thread over in Tech about which oil is best for which sort of rag if you like! ;)

HF

R-O-B; some hard figures - nick
Hi HF,

It's so nice when two people can have a difference of opinion without getting personal and nasty. Anyway, I like 20w/50 and an old bit of t-shirt myself, or failing that, Body Shop massage oil and silk, but perhaps we'd better not go there......
All the best
Nick
R-O-B; some hard figures - HF
LOL, yes isn't it! And yes perhaps we'd better not!

Cheers Nick,

HF
R-O-B; some hard figures - eMBe {P}
>> and lately I have it on authority they are now given
money to buy cars because that's cheaper than giving them a
travel allowance.


Cars cheaper than travel allowance - now there's good thing which will not last very long if the loonies get their way. Couldn't agree with you more about the rest of your post, though.(and also about Mark Steyn from another post).

she'd have a house in Weybridge by now.

As you may know, that is a privilegde that HJ, and I, already enjoy. ! :-) !
R-O-B; some hard figures - Welliesorter
Do asylum seekers really get free cars/driving lessons, etc.? I'm not saying it's necessarily untrue, just that it's the sort of thing that gets passed around and turns into urban myth.

A couple of anecdotes, both motoring-related: a colleague had a rear collision at traffic lights. The driver whose fault it was pleaded with him not to call the police as he admitted to being an asylum seeker who was driving without a licence, insurance or even having taken a driving lesson.

Another colleague was responsible for looking after an apprentice who needed to be able to drive to remain in the job. He claimed that his test was repeatedly cancelled because priority was being given to asylum seekers. Of course this was a lie: he just kept failing.

All I'm saying is that you should keep a healthy scepticism about anything you hear, especially when it's reinforced by your existing beliefs.

And finally, if cars really are cheaper than a travel allowance there's something badly wrong. The marginal cost of an individual journey might be much less but that ignores the fixed costs that you pay whether you use a vehicle or not.
R-O-B; some hard figures - Aprilia
Well, in Coventry they have been given driving lessons. Some were interviewed on local TV news.
Friend of mine also had his Volvo badly damaged by a guy he (and police) suspect was an asylum seeker in an A4 - very little English, false plates, false name and address given.
R-O-B; some hard figures - Andrew-T
To get this thread back to topic: I checked out 3 neighbouring Peugeot dealers for DIY oil-change materials: filter and gallon of semi-syn for my 306. Two of them said £8.98 for filter, £28-30 for oil. The third was still running their special offer of oil/filter/sumpplug seal for £14.99 (a useful saving, you will agree). This was itemised as
filter £3.50, seal 50p, oil (Motaquip 10W/40 - last time it was Castrol 10/30) £8.76
each plus VAT. Presumably these are not loss-leaders, so the margin must be pretty high.
R-O-B; some hard figures - Cyd
Agree with you Aprilia. Another Automotive example from 18 mths ago:

PIAA Super White Platinum H4 bulbs. £90 a pair in UK, $70 a pair at Romeo Off Road, Romeo MI.

Romeo Off Road also offered to ship Mobil 1 to me here in the UK! It costs about 1/3 in the US compared to UK.

Bought 2 oil filter removal tools from Village Auto parts, Romeo for $9 ea. Equivalent tools here at local A1 store = £12 to £16.

Levi 505 jeans at Great Lakes Crossing $27ea. Can't get them for less than £45 here.

Any outdoor equipment you care to mention is loads cheaper in the US.

Only supermarket food (as opposed to restaurant food) seems to be on a par.

The cost of healthcare is an issue of course, being much more onerous in the US than here.
R-O-B; some hard figures - Aprilia
Having lived in the US I can vouch for the fact that their healthcare system is a complete scam - designed to keep doctors in S-Class Mercs. A single visit to the GP and some antibiotics will set you back $200+ !! NHS is a very good thing IMHO. Also been unfortunate enough to witness a couple of RTA's in the US and I can tell you that their emergency services are not as well trained as ours - don't believe what you see on TV. Lots of confusion and people not knowing what to do etc.

On a more motoring related theme - a past neighbour of mine used to make a very good living importing grey-market motorbikes. He used to make a tidy profit bringing Triumphs in from Canada - cany you believe that, they travelled around 8k miles on a ship and he sells them less than the local dealer can get them from the factory.
He also started importing good quality automtoive tools - again undercutting the local suppliers.

I now buy any 'non-emergency' parts for my Mercedes from a dealer in Munich when I'm over there. Example saving - rear subframe bush for a C-class - £60+ from UK dealer; £24 in Germany....
R-O-B; some hard figures - THe Growler
>>>>>Levi 505 jeans at Great Lakes Crossing $27ea. Can't get them for less than £45 here.

505's are my jeans too (black natch). Good roomy bum capacity for sitting on motorcycles.*** I buy them at J.C. Penney: $29 last time. I tried in UK at a Levi shop but was told they aren't sold in the UK only in the US... Once I saw the prices I walked out anyway.

** motoring link.
R-O-B; some hard figures - nick
I've no experience of the US healthcare system but according to someone on Radio 4's 'Today' programme this morning, 40% of personal bankruptcies in the US are related to an inability to pay for healthcare costs. Whether this is true or not I don't know but even if it is only partially true, a statistic such as that reflects a society's values.

** no motoring connection whatever, but who cares these days? **
R-O-B? Some hard facts. - M.M
I just can't subscribe to ROB as a broad brush statement.

Often folks are giving cheap oil in France as "proof", yet most times our local 7-days a week auto shop is cheaper than the prices you mention.

I've just bought some well fitting cotton shirts from Matalan that wash and TD well...£6 each. Got some jeans for the kids from Tescos, made/cut as well as Levis...only £4 a pair.

Every week the local Co-Op has "buy one, get one free" offers in about every basic area of food you might wish to buy.

Andyspares/GSF supply OE parts for many foreign cars at prices often less than 50% retail.

We've just had a week in Scotland where our excellent mid-day meals (in stunning locations) have been around £16-£20 for two adults and two kids.

Used car prices here, in terms of condition/ability per pound, arecat an all time low.

The Internet has given us the power to search and get to the best UK prices when the need arises...frankly I'm amazed at how cheap nearly everything I want can be found.

If you just walk in and roll over at the first shop you find... well then you might pay through the nose.

Oh and if you do want something that is much cheaper abroad, well it's a global market so just order it from wherever anyway... no need to grumble.

Example...I needed new jeans just before our hols. Been buying from the USA for 15yrs now. Online order to Wichita, Kansas one Sunday evening for exactly the right type/fit*...and they arrive at the door four days later. Price per pair under £26 inc air mail and customs.

*Wrangler Pro-Rodeo slim fit for me of course....*The* riders jean.

And to adapt your phrase Growler... it matters not what you ride, just that you do so in the right jeans.

;-)

M.M

R-O-B? Some hard facts. - nick
MM, your posting is a breath of fresh air. Perhaps the whingers will just get on with life..... some hope!
R-O-B? Some hard facts. - jeds
Price of goods in the UK is largely driven by premium property prices. If you want rip off though, try Switzerland. The prices there are so hot they will singe your eyebrows off.
R-O-B? Some hard facts. - eMBe {P}
MM, nick, jeds: We are of the same opinion. however, the message will never get through to the believers of R-O-B. It is only when you try to set up and run your own business that you realise all the costs involved as an Employer in the UK compared to the US (long holidays, sick-pay, maternity/paternity rights, high council tax, National Insurance, Employers liability, health &safety, Buildings-rents/maintenance/cleaning/repairs/heating/lighting, the list of hig UK costs/estras seems endless ).

I agree with MM's post on school runs too.
R-O-B? Some hard facts. - THe Growler
>>>>We are of the same opinion. however, the message will never get through to the believers of R-O-B.

Unfortunately to the customer the origins of the cost drivers are irrelevant. He looks at the sticker price of the goods or service and makes his buying decision or not on that. Who is doing the R-O-B-ing whether gov't or goods/service provider is of no consequence, the impact on his wallet is the same.

I'm sorry if all that overhead means you have to charge me 3X for my Mobil 1, but it isn't really my problem. If I can get it some other place for 1/3 the price, I'd be daft not to. Hell, you're business men, you have to agree with that. ("I" here being the customer in general). That is the harsh fact. Nowhere more so than in motoring -- look at those RAC figures, OK you can dispute them but somebody presumably did some thorough research to dig them up. Pin-point accuracy may be less important than throwing the issue into focus, as has happened.

Being an outsider in the sense of a regular UK visitor as well as a regular traveller to other parts I see this price "disparity" (if R-O-B offends) hideously clearly. An American friend of mine has just returned from a business trip to London and when I asked him how it went his words were "Jesus man, your country's prices are obscene".
R-O-B? Some hard facts. - eMBe {P}
Growler: I am not saying that UK motoring (and other) prices are not obscene. I too would prefer a free motoring (and other)market in UK devoid of all the EU & local bureacrats. As I have said before, your and my motoring (and other) politics are virtually identical. Until the world as a whole operates under identical rules and regulations on motoring (and other), [and is either a true "free capitalist market" or a true fully communist one-world run by uniform bleeding-heart limp-wristed humans], the chances are that regional variations in motoring (and other) prices/wages etc. will persist.
R-O-B? Some hard facts. - Aprilia
All I can say is thank goodness people whinged and moaned about UK car prices in the past (not least the Consumers' Association). Had these whingers and moaners kept their mouths shut we would still be paying excessively inflated prices for our cars.
No one likes paying over the odds. If I'm not mistaken much of HJ's site is dedicated to helping people get new cars at prices much lower than their local dealer is willing to supply. All this publicity and better consumer information have now driven UK prices down close to European levels.

Unfortunately dealers have decided to recoup some of their lost profit by inflating the costs of spares and servicing. If people are willing to be mug enough to sit back and not complain then more fool them.

As an aside, I was at a small local motor industry 'get together' yesterday evening. A lot of people were talking about the forthcoming changes to block exemption. There was a guy from a large BMW dealer network (speaking 'off the record, of course) saying that BMW UK are sharply increasing prices of special tools and maintainence equipment to make sure that indepedendents will not be able to afford to enter the market for BMW service and repair. I spoke to a local MB guy I know and apparently MB are doing the same - they have increased prices on MB special tools so that it now requires an investment in excess of £35k to do MB service work! This will effectively neutralise the 'threat' posed to major dealers by the Block Exemption changes.

As to eMBe's comments about tax, NI etc. etc. Well, I've heard it all before, usually it comes from the CBI and IoD. My father ran his own independent motor repair business for over 3 decades and managed to make a reasonable living despite paying all of the tax, rent, elec. bills, employing a few guys and charging around the lowest labour rates in the area.

I now spend about half my life working abroad and I can assure you that Germans employed in the motor industry (whether graduate designers, engineers, or technicans at the dealers) earn *more* than their UK equivalent, get better benefits, longer holidays and pay *less* in the shops. They are simply better off. Some of this is due to the fact that productivity is much higher over there - the UK's infrastructure is clapped out and run down. People are also generally better educated over there - I'm often amused by the fact that German school leavers have a better grasp of English grammar than many of their British counterparts. The level of technical education is also much, much higher. I think UK Further Education has been run into the ground (youngsters doing NVQ's in 'hospitality' and hairdressing instead of engineering and technology, which is now nearly 'dead' in FE). I really can't see where the next generation of vehicle technicians is going to come from.

To those who say that if its better elsewhere, then leave the country. Well, yes, I agree. But I don't think its generally realised just how many talented British engineers and designers have *already* gone abroad. There are large numbers of British staff employed throughout the German motor industry (and in France and Scandinavia too), leaving the UK skills pool severely depleted.
R-O-B? Some hard facts. - Mark (RLBS)
More motoring, less politics please.
R-O-B? Some hard facts. - eMBe {P}
Aprilia: I shall refrain from posting a whole book on economic theory. (And I, too, know of some family run firms who do business on a charitable basis.) But in essence, to sum it up - just think of the biological "food chain" and "Darwin's survival of the fittest". That should settle it. For every penny you make or don't make, someone at the end of the "food-chain" pays for it somehow.

Now strictly back to motoring:

>>"..There was a guy from a large BMW dealer network (speaking 'off the record, of course) saying that BMW UK are sharply increasing prices of special tools and maintainence equipment to make sure that indepedendents will not be able to afford to enter the market for BMW service and repair. I spoke to a local MB guy I know and apparently MB are doing the same - they have increased prices on MB special tools so that it now requires an investment in excess of £35k to do MB service work! ..">>

The answer to this is (apart from the fact that they can charge what the market will bear for their product):
1. If you buy MB, you can afford these charges. Otherwise don't buy MB.
2. If you buy BMW, you can afford these charges. If you cannot afford these charges, then you should
either buy a BMW diesel which comes as standard with free 5 years servicing thrown in,
or buy the 5 year servicing package now available on non-diesel BMWs,
or buy a Hyundai with free 5 year warranty and 3 years servicing.
R-O-B? Some hard facts. - Flat in Fifth
>> Now strictly back to motoring:
>>"..There was a guy from a large BMW dealer network (speaking
'off the record, of course) saying that BMW UK are sharply
increasing prices of special tools and maintainence equipment to make sure
that indepedendents will not be able to afford to enter the
market for BMW service and repair. I spoke to a local
MB guy I know and apparently MB are doing the same
- they have increased prices on MB special tools so that
it now requires an investment in excess of £35k to do
MB service work! ..">>
The answer to this is [snip]>>


Actually the legal answer is that this policy is clearly in contravention of EU anti competitive legislation.

If I were a MB/BMW independant specialist, a complaint to DG CCE Brussels would be winging its way sharpish on the basis that both are in contravention of article 82 re abuse of a dominant market position.

If we have to live and do business in this lunatic asylum then one should make the rules work to one's advantage.
R-O-B? Some hard facts. - Aprilia
Actually the legal answer is that this policy is clearly in
contravention of EU anti competitive legislation.
If I were a MB/BMW independant specialist, a complaint to DG
CCE Brussels would be winging its way sharpish on the basis
that both are in contravention of article 82 re abuse of
a dominant market position.
If we have to live and do business in this lunatic
asylum then one should make the rules work to one's advantage.


You are quite right and I think we are going to be hearing a lot more about this. The whole independent sector is very unhappy about the way Block Exemption is panning out in the UK. Coupled with increasing 'vertical integration' (i.e. the manufacturers want to own distribution and retail) the big VM's seem determined to choke-off any independent competition and effectively close down the independent sector.
R-O-B? Some hard facts. - 8 ball
2. If you buy BMW, you can afford these charges. If
you cannot afford these charges, then you should
either buy a BMW diesel which comes as standard with free
5 years servicing thrown in,
or buy the 5 year servicing package now available on non-diesel
BMWs,

Ref eMBe's post: I'm looking at a new 5 series (diesel) and note that far from being 'free' the 5 year service package is £750 - up to 5 years or 60k miles. Given I do about 10k a year is it worth buying the service package? I've never owned a diesel before but am led to believe they need servicing more often. Is this true? (Incidentally, I don't want to start a petrol -v- diesel debate here; I've seen them in the BR before.)Any advice gratefully received. Cheers.

8 ball
R-O-B? Some hard facts. - Marcos{P}
I think as a general rule the servicing intervals are roughly the same now between petrol and diesel give or take a bit. I have also found that diesel servicing tends to be cheaper than its petrol equivilent.
R-O-B? Some hard facts. - eMBe {P}
>> BMWs,
Ref eMBe's post: I'm looking at a new 5 series (diesel)
and note that far from being 'free' the 5 year service
package is £750 - up to 5 years or 60k miles.>> >>


Sorry, the free deal applies to 3 series only.

" BMW Saloon customers who choose the dynamic 320d or 330d models will now benefit from an attractive free servicing and maintenance package. This package offers five years or 60,000 miles servicing and maintenance - the equivalent of up to a £3,000 saving and includes:
· Oil services
· Inspection services
· Brake pad and discs
· Brake fluid
· Wiper blades
· All labour charges

Linked to the already comprehensive BMW Warranty (3 years unlimited mileage), this effectively eliminates all maintenance costs and is transferable if the vehicle is sold. "
R-O-B? Some hard facts. - Aprilia
eMBe

There is no 'market' in the product - MB are the only supplier of their own special tools. This is all part of the BE changes which are supposed to 'open up' the market in sevicing, but which are actually being abused to choke off the independents (and has really upset a lot of their franchised dealers too).

The BMW servicing package is not 'free' - it is added to the price of the car. They want to lock the customer into their servicing for 5 years. Currently, at 4 years about 70% of the customers have left the dealer network. Think about that, and read the paragraph above. Has the penny dropped yet?
R-O-B? Some hard facts. - eMBe {P}
The BMW servicing package is not 'free' - it is added
to the price of the car.


Simple. You are free to take your servicing elsewhere if you don't wish to avail yourself of the inclusive free servicing. (free lunches, economics, and free markets - teaching grandma to suck eggs comes to mind.)

Has the penny dropped yet? >>


Simple. Nobody forces anyone to buy Mercs or BMWs. Pennies? What are they? It is gold sovreigns for those who can afford BMWs and Mercs. To them, it matters not what it costs. They buy these cars because they can afford them. Dealers try to weed out those who like to think they can but will later whinge about every little minor extra cost.

Simple (but unpapatable to some) economic truth: the ultimate goal of a capitalist business in a true free market is to achieve a monopoly position.
R-O-B? Some hard facts. - Flat in Fifth
Simple (but unpapatable to some) economic truth: the ultimate goal of
a capitalist business in a true free market is to achieve
a monopoly position.


True: and just why do you think that is?

Its what you do once you are in such a position that matters.

Is it not because of past abuse of dominant and monopoly position that certain laws have been put into place. Like it or not these laws exist on the statute book.

Now I HAVE to understand these laws and obey them, simply because I don't want to be fined up to 10% of total turnover. Last time I looked don't think I could find over 0.5 billion USD down the back of the car seats or even in the building society account, mores the pity.

Therefore my point is if I, and other responsible outfits, obey these laws then so should DB and BMW.

The reason that nothing has been done in the past is partly block exemption, but also because none of the vehicle manufacturers wants to open a real can of worms by telling teacher.

An independant, however, has nothing to lose by complaining. The sad fact is that probably most of them, and their advisors, don't know enough of the detail to get a case together. Plus if the case is proven it could get annulled by a political deal negotiated in a smoke filled back room somewhere in Brussels.

However, in the example, as presented above, ie restriction of independant trade, this is clearly, IF it is true, that the companies are opening themselves up to investigation and a potential 10% turnover fine. Taking the example at face value the law is quite clear they would be in breach. If it is true, there will be an e-mail or something hidden away somewhere.

There IS case precedent for restriction of special tools btw, not in the motor industry I admit.

Now before Growler starts I'm not defending these laws as in some of the aspects they make you think the lunatics really are in charge of the asylum.

However I also agree in some part with MM that its not a broad brush thing. You have to know your market and the price structure.

PS.
Folks who accuse of whinging don't understand all the picture IMO.
R-O-B? Some hard facts. - eMBe {P}
FiF - for the record, I am a believer in true free markets. So I have no objection to any and all Companies being penalised for acting otherwise. Block exemptions, cartels, etc. should all be dealt with. Perhaps in a hundred years the whole World (except the French, who will ignore any rules) will have fully harmonised taxes, prices, wages, criminal & civil laws, pensions, medical care, living standards, identical homes, one-size bananas, etc. All identical goods will then maybe cost the same in the World. That is, free capitalist markets will have achieved the utopia of true Communism.
R-O-B? Some hard facts. - Mark (RLBS)
More motoring, less politics was my request.

Soon I will simply lock this thread.
R-O-B? Some hard facts. - Lancia
Bravo Nick, Bravo MM,

I have spent lots of time in France and the price of motoring over there is no more cheaper or is that less expensive
than over here, and in day to day living, Six of one half a dozen of the other springs to mind.

Growler I can get levis 501 for £28 in the UK.

Now is it not strange that when you here people complain about R.O.B the comparison of Cigarettes and Beer is usually
the first one made !!!!!!!!
R-O-B? Some hard facts. - THe Growler
Can't get into 501's old sport :+( Has to be 505's. Anyway £28 is still $44 compared with J.C. Penney's $29. 50% more expensive.

Ah well, time to crack open another 16p bottle of San Miguel (TIC)
R-O-B? Some hard facts. - Welliesorter
Tesco Value jeans only cost £4. I'll get me coat...
R-O-B? Some hard facts. - THe Growler
But (paraphrased) as Mother used to say what if you have an accident and someone sees them.....? ;-)
R-O-B? Some hard facts. - M.M
I'm sure Mother was only concerned with them being clean Growler, not the brand. And there's an important point, if you have life truly sussed the brand matters not one jot if they do the job.

And to those Tesco value jeans....bear in mind they were for girls of 6 and 8 who are as likely to trash them in the bike chain on day one as not.

Having said that these particular ones are possibly the best copy of something like a USA supplied slim fit Levi 517 I've ever seen. That is very unusual in a kids jean which are usually the "wrong" kind of blue and cut for a Tellytubbie. And for the image biased kid there is no outer label actually giving the game away!

No forget the brand, the wealthiest folks in town around here wear wellingtons to the shops.

Mind you Tesco's value lemonade is a different matter....

M.M
R-O-B? Some hard facts. - Welliesorter
Sorry for remaining off topic, but the Tesco Value jeans are available in adult sizes. I think they were £6 each or two for a tenner but lately they've been marked down to £4.

As mother used to say, it doesn't matter as long as they're clean.
R-O-B? Some hard facts. - teabelly
You are not that free to take servicing elsewhere. The dealer backed parts of the warranty exclude it as it is made very clear if you take your car elsewhere then you are not covered. I know for example that alfa 156s have been snapping cam belts early. If they are serviced at an alfa dealer then alfa will guarantee the belts up to 5 years and 60k. If not they couldn't give a monkeys. Bearing in mind the quality of repair at an alfa dealer (and most other main dealers) a good independent does a better job for less money but if you want alfa to pay out if an early failure occurs you have to pay through the nose for second rate service.

As far as I am concerned it should have been laid out in the rules that servicing and maintenance can be done by any vat registered garage that uses genuine or original spec parts and that manufacturers could not refuse to pay out for failures in their product.

I think there is a gap in the market for an independent warranty company to have manufacturer style warranties without the exclusions for new cars so that people can choose where they get their car serviced. This would put the wind up manufacturers as it would allow people to buy from unofficial sources but still get a lot of the backing as long as the warranty pays out for the work it doesn't matter where it gets done. It could also give a lift to the independent sector as you could have make approved independents who would be guaranteed certain levels of work so the investment in special tools (has anyone thought of duplicating them? ) would be worth it. Perhaps the manufacturer needs to offer the cars at two prices. One with the dealer restricted warranty and one without and let people decide how they want their car serviced. If there is a limit on the percentage extra that can be charged then I would be likely to go for it. Not sure what would happen in the second hand market though.

Citroen have started having parts that can only be used on one vehicle and have to be 'registered' with that car. This is more worrying than the price of tools increase as it means every part needed has to be specially ordered and the usual diagnostic route of trying out a replacement of what you suspect is broken won't work and if it didn't fix the problem then the part is scrap rather than reusable.
teabelly
R-O-B? Some hard facts. - eMBe {P}
teabelly: you are free to buy/not-buy a BMW.
1. If you buy a 3 series diesel, you get 5 years servicing included in the price. If you don't want that included, tough luck or you can still take your car to any garage and PAY them again to do the work. or you can DIY. There is nothing to stop you doing that. It is not a civil a criminal offence.
2. If you buy a new 5 series BMW, you are given the option to purchase a fixed price 5 year servicing deal. The other comments in 1 above apply again.

Now your specific points (please note: I speak "plainly", and appear blunt, but no offence is intended nor should be taken):
You are not that free to take servicing elsewhere. The dealer
backed parts of the warranty exclude it as it is made
very clear if you take your car elsewhere then you are
not covered.


People always want something for nothing. No law says you can't go to an independent and buy a warranty from warrant-direct to protect you.

If they are serviced at an alfa
dealer then alfa will guarantee the belts up to 5 years
and 60k. If not they couldn't give a monkeys. Bearing in
mind the quality of repair at an alfa dealer (and most
other main dealers) a good independent does a better job for
less money but if you want alfa to pay out if
an early failure occurs you have to pay through the nose
for second rate service.


I am afraid this convoluted logic and talking in circles makes me dizzy.
As far as I am concerned it should have been laid
out in the rules that servicing and maintenance can be done
by any vat registered garage that uses genuine or original
spec parts and that manufacturers could not refuse to pay out for
failures in their product.


You can always use the Court (or join the CA) to test the legality of this.
I think there is a gap in the market for an
independent warranty company to have manufacturer style warranties without the exclusions
for new cars so that people can choose where they get
their car serviced. This would put the wind up manufacturers as
it would allow people to buy from unofficial sources but still
get a lot of the backing as long as the warranty
pays out for the work it doesn't matter where it gets
done.


See my comment about warranty-direct.

>>Perhaps the manufacturer needs to offer the cars at two prices. One
with the dealer restricted warranty and one without and let people
decide how they want their car serviced. If there is a
limit on the percentage extra that can be charged then I
would be likely to go for it. Not sure what would
happen in the second hand market though.


Is this not what BMW are doing in effect? The 5 year service package is transferable to 2nd hand cars.

Citroen have started having parts that can only be used on
one vehicle and have to be 'registered' with that car. This
is more worrying than the price of tools increase as it
means every part needed has to be specially ordered and the
usual diagnostic route of trying out a replacement of what you
suspect is broken won't work and if it didn't fix the
problem then the part is scrap rather than reusable.


Don't buy a Citroen if you don't like their terms.
R-O-B? Some hard facts. - DavidHM
With regard to servicing, I agree with you eMBe. It would be nice if you could get a sales contract that guaranteed you against all premature failures but in the end, you've got to draw the line somewhere and that line is drawn by SOGA and 'satisfactory quality'.

Manufacturers and dealers have to make money somewhere; indirectly of course the manufacturers make money from profitable servicing because otherwise the franchise wouldn't be very attractive and they'd never sell any cars in the first place...

The Citroën individual parts situation is worrying though, firstly because it imposes an additional cost on garages, especially if they are not fulfilling their implied duty to use 'reasonable care and skill' in diagnosing the problem - and secondly because it creates very high barriers to entry for the competition - different parts manufacturers, independent garages.

Then you have something that is dangerously close to a cartel of manufcturers manipulating demaand for their products beyond what the market can take by limiting competition in products required further on in the vehicle's life cycle.
R-O-B? Some hard facts. - Fireball XL5
I totally agree with eMBe on this one, you are dead right mate. If you dont like the heat then stay out of the kitchen. If you cant affort BMW/MB serving then don't buy one of those cars. Go to the auction and get a Mondeo, get it serviced by a backstreet garage for £50 a time. Keep on buying your food from Aldi and clothes from Asda - the rest of the world will not worry.
 

Value my car