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Garages can no longer repair their customers' cars – economy

It's clearing the car market like it never was. Major car brands and general importers cancel their service contracts with independent garages for driving and put them under pressure. The Competition Commission does little, despite the various announcements. The Garragist stays in the courts, sometimes even abroad.

One example is the Utley Garage in Zurich. For decades she has been selling cars on Land Rover. In 2016, the brand's general importer, Emil Frey AG, informed the garage that it was terminating its contract for the March 2018 workshop. Many other Land Rover and Jaguar garages received the same notification. Only those garages offered by both brands – Land Rover and Jaguar – would get a new contract. It was tightening for the Utley garage.

Not an isolated case

Without a garage agreement, private garages can no longer repair their customers' cars. The legal process of contracting is also complicated. According to the Competition Commission's notice, garages are entitled to a service contract if they can perform the quality repairs required by the car supplier. Only by exception can quantitative criteria be set if they "prove" that additional repair shops endanger the appropriate repair.

The antitrust authorities in their statement sought to ensure competition among the various service providers. This has had the consequence that garage complaints have been regularly complained about ever since Competition Commission arrived.

Garages are only a way to the courts, in the Maserati case even to a court abroad.

In 2018, authorities have come to a preliminary conclusion that importer Amag has concluded that there may be a dispute over the link between sales and service – that Amag so aware of garages does not allow service contracts unless they sell cars. Veco made recommendations to Amag 6 to rectify the situation. If Amag does this, Vecco wants to stop further investigations. According to the Authority, Amag implemented some of the recommendations and others did not. It is an ongoing process. Amag himself left all questions unanswered.

Vecco has revealed that importer Amag deliberately does not provide garage service contracts unless they also sell their cars. Photo: Cornerstone

In total, Veco has heard over 20 complaints in the last two years. It is determined on the basis of market observations that the requirements of the Advertisement have been met. Manufacturers or importers of cars justify their approach by applying a global strategy, for efficiency they would tighten the dealer network. Based on the figures, importers could prove overcapacity, writes the Competition Commission.

That is why the Garagists had to go to the civil court only. For example, Garage Aper in Lucerne has taken this step. In 2016, it was also terminated by service contracts for Land Rover and Jaguar. Appealing to Veco did not help. Lucerne's cantonal court then ordered that the garage could serve its customers until further notice.

Several brands affected

"Unless the contracts are renewed, there is only one garage for drivers of Land Rover and Jaguar in central Switzerland, that of Emil Frey, or in Zug or Ebikon," says owner Stephen Eper. In the past there were three more garages.

Eper was still lucky. Solhorhoun High Court dismissed Maserati's unfortunate garage of law enforcement this summer against the Italian judiciary because Maserati is based in Modena, Italy. The garage forwarded the judgment to the federal court, whose decision is still pending. In 2018, at least half a dozen courts have declared that they have no jurisdiction; no court has yet dealt with genuine antitrust issues.

Different brands are affected. During the summer, Emil Frey took over the Swiss car importer company Peugeot, Citroën, DS and Opel from the French parent company PSA. Immediately, the company began cleaning the dealer network and announced numerous garage service contracts, as several sources independently confirm. The quality of service was not important. Emil Frey AG left no questions asked.

Marcus Sawyer, an economist, former deputy director of Veco and responsible for the vehicle sector, says the decisive question is whether the deterioration in the service market has a negative impact on sales. "If that were true, there would be no problem," Sawyer said, because then the shortages fell on the manufacturers themselves.

Rules at once irrelevant

Meanwhile, resistance against car importers is increasing in parliament. The president of the CVP and the National Council of the South, Gerhard Pfister, submitted a proposal at a recent session calling on the Federal Council to prescribe reporting on Veco as a decree. "Then Veco must finally take action," Pfister explains.

And what happened to the Utley garage? It has now been taken over with the CEO of Importer General Emil Frey. And at once went what was rejected for all the other garages. Only Land Rovers can still be purchased and repaired. And the standards set by all other standards at once are no longer a problem.

Created: 14.10.2019, 09:32 pm

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