“Some car price rises are thanks to manufacturer greed, not just increased costs”

There are a number of economic and supply-chain issues facing car makers, but editor-in-chief Steve Fowler asks if some are just taking advantage

Opinion - car prices

Last week we tested the brand-new Honda Civic Type R, which is a stunning car to drive. It’s also a hugely expensive one that – with a few small options – tops out at £52,000.

Honda has put a £12,000 increase over the old model (which actually shares much of the same underpinnings) down to an increase in costs and swings in the exchange rate. Oh, and the fact that the old model was too cheap!

Back in 1988, I bought one of the best hot hatches of the time, a Citroen AX GT, brand new for £8,800. According to the Bank of England, that’s the equivalent of around £22,500 today, and not far from the price of the brilliant Hyundai i20 Nour current favourite hot hatch. Yet, at £25,750, you could have two of the hot Hyundais for the price of one Honda Civic Type R.

Of course, cars offer so much more in terms of performance, efficiency, safety and technology these days compared with my old AX GT. But that price for a Civic Type R – however good it is – is just eye-watering. 

Honda is not alone in hiking prices – and we know that rising costs around the world are having an effect. We’ve already reported on the £100,000 Volvo, while the latest Range Rover products routinely top £100,000, too.

Car makers have been prioritising high-margin cars during the chip shortage, but it does make me wonder if brands haven’t been taking advantage at the same time by edging up prices to make even more money.

Electric cars may have played a part in this. They are, undoubtedly, more costly to produce than their internal combustion-engined equivalents. So perhaps some car makers are looking at the cost of EVs and benchmarking cheaper-to-produce ICE cars against them. It’s no wonder more and more buyers are turning to brands like MG and Dacia, which offer real value for money.

These days, good value has never been more important.

Electric cars are costly to build but some bargains can still be found. Read our list of the cheapest EVs on sale...

Editor-in-chief

Steve Fowler has been editor-in-chief of Auto Express since 2011 and is responsible for all editorial content across the website and magazine. He has previously edited What Car?, Autocar and What Hi-Fi? and has been writing about cars for the best part of 30 years. 

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