Transport Malta has warned car importers not to hike prices of electric vehicles following the announcement in Monday's budget that consumers will benefit from special grants if they go for greener options. 

Speaking on TVM, Transport Malta's Gilbert Agius said that following a complaint about a sudden increase in car prices, the agency warned importers not to use the grants as an excuse to hike prices. 

According to Agius, the complaint involved one importer who claimed the increase had nothing to do with the budget measure but was a result of global issues with microchips. This meant some extras now cost more than they did before. 

But since the change happened just days after the budget measures were unveiled, Transport Malta will continue to investigate to ensure this is really the case, he said. It had also already reached out to other importers on the same issue. 

From last Tuesday, the day following the budget announcement, anyone opting to buy a new electric vehicle and scrap a combustion engine car that is at least 10 years old will be eligible for a €12,000 grant.

This amounts to an increase of €3,000 over the previous grant. 

Times of Malta reached out to Sandro Cauchi from Continental Cars after social media posts claimed the importer had raised the price of a particular vehicle just days after the budget. 

Cauchi told Times of Malta the increase was a result of prices going up elsewhere in the world starting in October and had nothing to do with the budget measure.

In fact, a car of the same model that is already available is being sold at the original price, he said. Only vehicles that have yet to be shipped to Malta will prices go up, he said. 

Times of Malta could not establish whether the importer mentioned by Agius is Continental Cars. 

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