Economy & Politics

The Autofestival at the crossroads

After a year in 2020 slowing down, the recovery in car sales in Luxembourg could well stall at the start of the year. Indeed, firm confinement would bring the holding of the Autofestival to a standstill.

Patrick JACQUEMOT

Patrick JACQUEMOT

After a year in 2020 slowing down, the recovery in car sales in Luxembourg could well stall at the start of the year. Indeed, firm confinement would bring the holding of the Autofestival to a standstill.

He had escaped the first covid wave, but the virus could have its skin in early 2021. In any case, this is what the country’s automotive distribution professionals fear for the Autofestival. And the blow would be hard to take after a year 2020 marked by a drop in sales of around 20% and this new closure imposed as “non-essential businesses” until January 10.

Indeed, the days of the Autofestival to come were the light at the end of the tunnel for a sector that the crisis will not have spared. First, there was the forced closure of concessions from March 15 to May 11, then the reopening of showrooms, the timid resumption of sales and deliveries. But after a roaring 2019, the engine coughs at the time of the assessment of the twelve months that have just passed. Lack of 12,000 sales on the clock to equal last year’s score.

Gerry Wagner, spokesperson for the House of Automobile, made his accounts: “This corresponds to a difference in turnover of the order of 280 million euros ”for the garages Luxembourg, in the only sector of the sale of new vehicles. And also 48 million euros of revenue less for the State via the various taxes collected on sales. Also, even if the government had given the green light for an extended edition of the Autofestival (from January 25 to February 8), the profession fears that the new confinement which threatens the beginning of the year will collide with this 57th edition.


A grille is seen at a closed shop in Berlin on December 17, 2020, on the second day of a partial lockdown in Germany to curb the number of infections with the new coronavirus COVID-19. - Germany shops and schools are closed, as Europe's biggest economy battles to halt an

Apart from food and newsagents, tobacco and gasoline, there should not be many stores open from December 26th until January 10th. This is one of the decisions taken by the government on Monday.


Moreover, the House of Automobile has just written a letter to Xavier Bettel and the Ministers of Transport and the Middle Classes. A letter to recall how both she understood the need to impose new rules (if the infectious framework worsened), but also how the auto sector had until then been cautious and good student to avoid any acceleration of the epidemic.

And Philippe Mersch, president of the Federation of Automotive Distributors (FEDAMO), recalled for his part: “Since mid-May, our establishments have established a strict protocol, validated by the Ministry of Health”.

A line of conduct aimed at protecting both staff (salespeople, mechanics, administrative staff) and customers. “We can be even more firm, it’s true. But closing the concessions at the time of the Autofestival would be a disaster for our sector which employs around 5,000 people ”.

Also, relayed by the Federation of Craftsmen, FEDAMO would not like to see showrooms being forced to close in the coming weeks. Too many stakes. “The government, if it imposes closures on businesses, will therefore have to study who has done things well and who has not respected the rules before taking a decision. As for the garages, I think I can say that we have been quite exemplary and that we would not deserve this lockdown, which is terrible for our business. ”

While waiting for the rest of the events, all the concessions of the country have already thought about a new approach for the Autofestival 2021. In particular so that no crowd is hurrying at the same time in such or such concession, it was planned to set up an appointment booking system.


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