Looking at an online car brochure (PDF version of printed material) for the Vauxhall Astra, it listed RRP: Link

As far as I know, am I correct with these:

  • List price is basic price
  • Recommended retail price is what the manufacturer suggests (but they don't have to enforce it due to price fixing laws, as far as I can remember Volkswagen got fined for price fixing in Europe in 2001).
    • On-the-road price is something different.

I live in the UK, where MSRP is defined as RRP on automobiles.

Theoretically, could a manufacturer set the prices for the cars, and then the importer/distributor decide to deviate from the RRP a bit? If a manufacturer set a list price for a family sedan at £14,595, but wanted to sell it for £12,550 or £16,225 (prices here are just arbitrary values), then they could, theoretically speaking? How much leeway does the importer/distributor have in setting prices?

Example (specifications are only hypothetical here, using Ford Focus as an example since it's well-known):



1.6i Zetec 5-door hatchback - RRP £12,360 (inclusive of 20% VAT £14,832, on-the-road price £14,857 due to £25 charge for numberplates)

Are my calculations correct, and is my understanding of RRP/retail price/list price etc. correct, or am I wrong?

Any help is appreciated.

1 Answer 1


The retailer can sell for whatever price they like, with the caveats that if they consistently sell at a loss they will go out of business and if they set the price too high they will not sell anything!

As you mentioned, RRP is only a recommended price, the manufacturer cannot enfore it at all for legal reasons.

Having said that I used to work in retail (not cars) and if we discounted a certain manufacturers products and they found out about it, we would find they had suddenly run out of stock when we tried to order more.

So manufacturers do have some control over this type of thing depending on how "underhand" they want to be about it.

My background is in retail management but not selling cars, but my understanding is the law regards RRP is the same.

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