The downward trend in the car business has torn deep holes in the balance sheets of many manufacturers. Ten of the 16 largest auto companies had worldwide suffered in the second quarter, a decline in profits. For Swiss suppliers to the turbulence, above all in the German car industry, became a veritable stress test.

The Lucerne supply company Schurter switches already on short-time working. In addition to the four layoffs, according to “Neue Luzerner Zeitung”. In conversation with a VIEW Schurter-chief Ralph Müller (50) says: “The order backlog has stabilised at a low level. It difficult months lie ahead of us.”

But it is not only the global crisis in the automobile manufacturers, the export is dependent on the Swiss machine, electrical and metal industry (MEM): trade dispute, Brexit, the debt crisis and the strengthening of the Swiss franc, the order intake in the company’s collapse. In addition, the unresolved relationship between Switzerland and its main trading partner, the European Union, hovering, like a sword of Damocles hanging over the industry.


is As the order intake fell in the first half of the year, to 12.5 percent. After the first quarter, a relatively moderate decline of 5.1 per cent had the result, broke the order intake in the second quarter by almost a fifth. The Numbers, however, are to be treated with caution, as in the previous year, an above average number of orders in the company received.

What is striking: Although at Swissmem during yesterday’s presentation of the half-year, no-one intends to speak about a crisis, is the complain about the downturn all the more louder. For Director Stefan Brupbacher (51) the present Situation is “worrying”. He even speaks of an “impending storm”. “At best we can expect until a stabilization at a lower level, but the risks, including a further appreciation of the Swiss franc are significantly larger than last year,” said Brupbacher.

in addition to Schurter, the Emmen brücker steel producer Swiss Steel had to introduce short-time working. “Responsible for the slump in the automotive industry, but also a weakening of demand from other markets, such as, for example, the machinery and plant engineering was,” says Ulrich Steiner, a spokesman for the parent company Schmolz+Bickenbach in conversation with a VIEW. According to Steiner, about three-quarters of the nearly 500 employees are affected by short-time working.

a Moderate increase in short-time work

Everything indicates that, in the next few weeks, other companies will follow the example of Schurter and Swiss Steel. According to the latest Figures of the Canton of Lucerne have already signed up for more companies to short-time working. And also the industry Association Swissmem requests are piling up to short-time work. According to the state Secretariat for economic Affairs (Seco), the short-time work between February and may, although a slight increase. “The level is but in the temporal comparison as very low,” writes the Seco on request.

Swissmem expects in the current environment, that the Swiss industry are to reduce companies on a large scale or relocate abroad. At the end of the first quarter of 2019 – more recent data are not yet available – were employed in the local MEM-sector 323’000 people. This actually represents an increase of 2.6 percent compared to the same period last year.

Crucial for the second half of the year will now be, what is happening on the currency front. If the Euro falls below 1.10 francs, is achieved, according to Swissmem, the “threshold of pain” for numerous companies. Just: Currently the Euro is indeed already 1.08 Swiss francs.