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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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Five signs you’ve settled into life in Switzerland

Getting adjusted to Swiss ways is not always easy for foreign nationals, but with a lot of perseverance it can be done. This is how you know you’ve assimilated.

Five signs you've settled into life in Switzerland
No lint: Following laundry room rules is a sign of integration in Switzerland. Photo by Sara Chai from Pexels

Much has been said about Switzerland’s quirkiness, but when you think about it, this country’s idiosyncrasies are not more or less weird than any other nation’s — except for the fact that they are expressed in at least three languages which, admittedly, can complicate matters a bit.

However, once you master the intricacies and nuances of Swiss life, you will feel like you belong here.

This is when you know you’ve “made it”.

You speak one of the national languages, even if badly

It irritates the Swiss to no end when a foreigner, and particularly an English-speaking foreigner, doesn’t make an effort to learn the language of a region in which he or she lives, insisting instead that everyone communicates to them in their language.

So speaking the local language will go a long way to being accepted and making you feel settled in your new home.

You get a Swiss watch and live by it

Punctuality is a virtue here, while tardiness is a definite no-no.

If you want to ingratiate yourself to the Swiss, be on time. Being even a minute late  may cause you to miss your bus, but also fail in the cultural integration.

‘The pleasure of punctuality’: Why are the Swiss so obsessed with being on time?

Using an excuse like “my train was late” may be valid in other countries, but not in Switzerland.

The only exception to this rule is if a herd of cows or goats blocks your path, causing you to be late.

A close-up of a Rolex watch in Switzerland.

Owning a Rolex is a sure sign you’re rich enough to live in Switzerland. Photo by Adam Bignell on Unsplash

You sort and recycle your trash

The Swiss are meticulous when it comes to waste disposal and, not surprisingly, they have strict regulations on how to throw away trash in an environmentally correct manner.

Throwing away all your waste in a trash bag without separating it first — for instance, mixing PET bottles with tin cans or paper — is an offence in Switzerland which can result in heavy fines, the amount of which is determined by each individual commune.

In fact, the more assiduous residents separate every possible waste item — not just paper, cardboard, batteries and bottles (sorted by colour), but also coffee capsules, yogurt containers, scrap iron and steel, organic waste, carpets, and electronics.

In fact, with their well-organised communal dumpsters or recycling bins in neighbourhoods, the Swiss have taken the mundane act of throwing out one’s garbage to a whole new level of efficiency.

So one of the best ways to fit in is to be as trash-oriented as the Swiss.

READ MORE: Eight ways you might be annoying your neighbours (and not realising it) in Switzerland

You trim your hedges with a ruler

How your garden looks says a lot about you.

If it’s unkempt and overgrown with weeds, you are clearly a foreigner (though likely not German or Austrian).

But if your grass is cut neatly and your hedges trimmed with military-like precision (except on Sundays), and some of your bushes and shrubs are shaped like poodles,  you will definitely fit in.

You follow the laundry room rules

If you live in an apartment building, chances are there is a communal laundry room in the basement that is shared by all the residents.

As everything else in Switzerland, these facilities are regulated by a …laundry list of “dos” and “don’ts” that you’d well to commit to memory and adhere to meticulously.

These rules relate to everything from adhering to the assigned time slot to removing lint from the dryer.

Following each rule to the letter, and not trying to wash your laundry in someone else’s time slot, is a sign of successful integration.

Voilà, the five signs you are “at home” in Switzerland.

READ MORE: French-speaking Switzerland: Seven life hacks that will make you feel like a local

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