Car prices set to rise after May 1

  • 2004-03-25
  • Baltic News Service
RIGA - The price for cars in the Baltic states is set to rise after EU accession, as car dealers will have to apply EU-mandated import duties on automobiles.

Ainars Saulitis, the vice president of Latlada, the Latvian dealer of Russia's Lada cars, said the prices of Russian-made Ladas would grow some 10 percent upon introduction of the EU import duties. He expected that car sales would also fall with the rise, except for the Lada Niva jeep, the most popular of Russian-made cars in Latvia, since "there will still be a big price gap between Niva and the next cheapest jeep," he said.
Saulitis added that Russian producers would be able to meet the EU's quality requirements since Eiro3 quality requirements have been in effect in Latvia for several years already.
Valdis Spredzis, director of Skandi Auto, the official dealer of Japanese Mitsubishi cars in Latvia, also predicted a 10 percent price growth, though this would not apply to Mitsubishi models made in Europe. He predicted that prices for cars made outside the EU could rise in the summer after dealers had sold their current stock.
M-Motors director Aleksejs Rihters said that prices for Mazdas were unlikely to rise since they would lose their competitive ability on the local market.
At present a 250 lat (375 euro) excise tax is levied on any new car imported in Latvia together with the import duty, which fluctuates depending on the type and price of the vehicle. After Latvia's accession on May 1, no import duty will be charged on cars made in the EU, and a universal import duty will apply to all cars made outside the EU.