Europe's five biggest car manufacturers have increased the prices of their cheapest models by an average of 41% since 2019, "almost double" the rate of inflation accumulated during this period, according to a study released on 6 November.

The prices of a Peugeot 208, a Seat Ibiza and a Renault Twingo have risen by almost 6,000 euros, an increase of 37.56%, while the Mercedes A and B Class models have increased by more than 10,000 euros (38% and 37% respectively), according to a new analysis published by the environmental non-governmental organisation (NGO) Transport & Environment (T&E).

According to the data analyzed, T&E points out, this situation comes at a time when manufacturers "have fought to thwart the new pollution measures, the Euro 7 standard, costing 200 euros per car", claiming that "they are too expensive and will lead to unaffordable price increases".

"They have fought against life-saving anti-pollution technologies that only cost 200 euros per car. It's proof that for European manufacturers, profit always comes before people," said T&E's director of vehicle emissions and air quality, Anna Krajinska.

The European Commission proposed the standard in 2022, aiming to reduce pollution from cars, vans, buses and trucks, to "save thousands of lives claimed by air pollution" and "improve air quality" for all European citizens.

However, the car industry launched a campaign against the measure, with the main argument being that it was "too expensive" and would make cars, especially smaller and cheaper models, unaffordable for consumers.

The environmental NGO said that "the European Parliament has one last chance" to act "in the interests of all Europeans and not just the car industry" because if it doesn't, by 2035 "100 million more highly polluting cars will be sold and will be on Europe's roads for decades to come".

MEPs will meet in plenary on Wednesday for a final vote, before starting negotiations with the European Commission and European Council.