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ECONOMY

Why now is a good time to buy a car in Switzerland

Switzerland's automobile sector has been stagnating during the Covid-19 crisis and now it appears is the right time to pick up a bargain.

Why now is a good time to buy a car in Switzerland
Many cars in Switzerland remain unsold. Photo by INA FASSBENDER / AFP

The law of economics dictates that when the supply of goods is high and the demand is low, the prices will drop. This is currently the case with cars in Switzerland.

In times of crisis, as evidenced by the Covid-19 pandemic, people are uncertain about the future and reluctant to spend their money on luxury items like new automobiles.

In fact, “the coronavirus has caused consumer sentiment in Switzerland to hit a historic low”, according to a report by the state Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). 

READ MORE: UPDATE: Coronavirus-hit Swiss economy shrinks 2.6 percent in first quarter 

The Swiss automobile market has also been impacted by this downward trend, resulting in substantial decrease in sales.

According to Swiss association of car importers, Auto Suisse, “economic uncertainties translate into weak demand”. 

“In the past month only 13,890 new passenger cars have been registered in Switzerland, which is 50.5 percent less than a year ago”, the association added.

So if you are planning to purchase a new car, now is the time to do it.

“After the period of confinement, stocks are saturated”, Dino Graf, communications manager of the Amag group, Swiss importers of VW, Audi, Skoda, Seat, and Porsche, told Le Matin newspaper.

“As our manufacturers have reduced their production in recent months, and the new vehicles have not yet arrived in Switzerland, the warehouses are full”, he added.

For instance, Le Matin calculated that by using the discount offered by car dealers on the vehicles they have in stock — the so-called ‘stock premium’— a customer could save 6,000 francs on a new Peugeot 308.

And leasing is available at 0 percent for certain automobiles— making the purchase of a new car even less costly. 

However, Le Matin predicted that the discounts will likely not last long and “prices will go up at the end of the year”, as the economy slowly recovers.

All the information about costs associated with car ownership in Switzerland can be found here

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MONEY

Italy expands €200 payment scheme and introduces public transport bonus

Italy's government will extend its proposed one-time €200 benefit to more people and introduce a €60 public transport payment, Italian media reported on Thursday.

Italy expands €200 payment scheme and introduces public transport bonus

Seasonal workers, domestic and cleaning staff, the self-employed, the unemployed and those on Italy’s ‘citizens’ income’ will be added to the categories of people in Italy eligible for a one-off €200 payment, ministers reportedly announced on Thursday evening.

The one-time bonus, announced earlier this week as part of a package of financial measures designed to offset the rising cost of living, was initially set to be for pensioners and workers on an income of less than €35,000 only.

However the government has now agreed to extend the payment to the additional groups following pressure from Italy’s labour, families, and regional affairs ministers and representatives of the Five Star Movement, according to news agency Ansa.

Pensioners and employees will reportedly receive the €200 benefit between June and July via a direct payment into their pension slip or pay packet.

For other groups, a special fund will be created at the Labour Ministry and the procedures for claiming and distributing payments detailed in an incoming decree, according to the Corriere della Sera news daily.

One new measure introduced at the cabinet meeting on Thursday is the introduction of a one-time €60 public transport bonus for students and workers earning below €35,000. The bonus is reportedly designed to encourage greater use of public transport and will take the form of an e-voucher that can be used when purchasing a bus, train or metro season pass.

Other provisions reportedly proposed in the energy and investment decree (decreto energia e investimenti), which is still being adjusted and amended, include extending energy bill discounts, cutting petrol excise duty and rolling on the deadline to claim Italy’s popular ‘superbonus 110’.

The €14 billion aid package, intended to lessen the economic impact of the war in Ukraine, will “fight the higher cost of living” and is “a temporary situation”, Prime Minister Mario Draghi has said.

The Local will report further details of the payment scheme once they become available following final approval of the decree.

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