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Car dealers, garages feel market pressures

Car dealers, and service and repair garages in Switzerland are feeling the pressures of a tighter market but a major crisis has so far been averted, industry leaders said Thursday.

This content was published on November 25, 1999 - 16:50

Car dealers, and service and repair garages in Switzerland are feeling the pressures of a tighter market but a major crisis has so far been averted, industry leaders said Thursday.

The Association of Car Dealers and Garage Owners told a news conference in Berne that profits from car sales have decreased over the past months, not least due to additional work – such as free maintenance -- often declared obligatory by car manufacturers.

And even though the association described car sales in 1998 as good, it pointed out that worldwide overproduction and the high density of garages in Switzerland were clearly putting pressure on small and medium-sized businesses.

The association has begun offering workshops for those businesses in order to help redefine their market position and suggest improved cooperation in such areas as car servicing, sales strategies and used car sales.

The latter is the main industry where profits are still on the rise: The association said that the number of used cars sold in Switzerland is now twice as big as that of new cars. About two thirds of used cars are sold by dealers and garages.

The association said that the number of dealerships and garages decreased only slightly from 6,000 in 1997 to 5,900 in 1998. Employment in the industry remained stable with about 42,000 workers.

From staff and wire reports.

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