Locksmiths usually deal with cars

Change tires, polish the paint, fold back the convertible top and take a jaunt across the country. In the course of the year, the car also has its big time when the weather cooperates, as it does these days, and invites you to take a trip. Normally there is a lot of activity in the workshops everywhere in the spring, so the vehicle should be in tip-top condition for the upcoming activities and of course for the holidays. Or a new car will be bought straight away. "Everything is new in May", promises a phrase, but this year it is different.

In the past, environmental discussions and expensive fuel prices have not affected the love of monkeys for a wheelchair. Corona does. The crisis is noticeably clouding the Germans' desire for their favorite toys. This can be clearly felt in the car market. Car workshops are often only a third full, and the car trade is down. Hardly anyone strolls through the sales areas on Father's Day to get excited about new models. People keep their money together, even in wealthy Munich, because they worry about the future. The virus has shifted priorities, says Bernhard Hemmerle, who is represented with his car dealerships at six locations in and around Munich. "People have learned that you don't really need anything, not even the car."

The Munich dealers do not complain loudly when you ask them about the difficult conditions on the car market. After years of discount wars and tough competition from the Internet, which pushes new and used cars back and forth in Europe in order to keep prices down, suffering has long been part of everyday life. So the dealers soberly state: "The goods do not stand and do not flow out," as Thomas Sedlmeier, the Mazda dealer from Bodenseestrasse, says. Older customers in particular, who belong to the risk group, do not come at all at the moment, and the others do not really enjoy being advised with masks on their faces either. Sedlmeier and his 15 employees are now specifically addressing customers whose leasing contracts have expired and require a change of vehicle. But even in this segment he notes a clear reluctance. "If someone has two cars at home, he thinks about whether one is enough." Like his colleague Hemmerle, he hopes it won't get worse.

The debate about a state purchase premium is particularly troubling for dealers. As a result, customers also held back because they waited to see whether the state would not pay something the next time they buy a car. If the bonus comes, Sedlmeier continues, mostly only small cars with a new price of around 10,000 euros would be bought anyway. Or only brand-new vehicles are subsidized. "Then what about the cars that are already on the sales floor?" He asks. "At most a flash in the pan" would result in a state subsidy, after which the market would collapse again, Hemmerle is also certain. "A clear no!" Is the opinion of the two dealers about the premium. They quickly demand a correspondingly clear statement from politicians.

Back to normal, that's what traders want. But it is a long way to get there. Bernhard Hemmerle sells more than 4,000 vehicles in his dealerships each year. This year, he has long since figured it out, there will be 1,000 fewer cars. "That costs me a million euros, so I'll have to shoot in the end." And when does the situation improve? "As long as we don't have a vaccine against the virus, there will be no normalcy."

These days, mainly customers come to the Westend car dealership who have the necessary things done. Repairs after an accident, a service appointment or maintenance such as new brakes are what the employees in the workshop deal with. But his service team is not fully utilized, says managing director Hans Jürgen Schlosser, who specializes in used cars of all sizes and brands. Six weeks of short-time work were also necessary in this company with 100 employees to get through the crisis. This still affects part of the workforce. Especially in sales. Instead of the usual 40 to 50 vehicles, the dealership sells perhaps half or even a third of that per month, reports Schlosser. "I would be happy if it didn't get worse." Sales can hardly be boosted. Discounts are no longer possible, "the prices are worn out to the last". Due to the overproduction of the manufacturers in the past few years, new vehicles have been heaped up and huge areas have been rented for them. Nevertheless, the manufacturers would stick to their prices, says Schlosser. Customers could not hope for bargains, the dealers no longer had any leeway: "We have our backs to the wall."

It looks completely different in the two-wheeler trade. Motorcycles and scooters sell well. Is it the younger clientele or the nice weather? "In any case, our house is full," says Jürgen Röhrich. The salesman at Motorrad Wimmer und Merkel on Landsberger Strasse "doesn't even notice" the corona crisis, and business has been normal in the past few weeks. At most, the dealer's customers have to limit themselves. No more than eight people are allowed in the sales room, the others have to be patient outside - the usual Corona precautionary measures.

Röhrich is correspondingly short, the next customers are already waiting. The smaller scooters with a displacement of up to 125 cubic centimeters are particularly in demand, but the spring business is also otherwise in progress. "It's just spring", says the seller as he leaves and asks for patience if you want a workshop appointment. The service is booked out for four weeks.