Mercedes, Peugeot Offer Swiss Car Discounts on Franc Jump

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Swiss consumers are getting some relief from the surge in the value of the franc with Mercedes-Benz and Peugeot cutting prices on their cars.

Daimler AG is offering a “currency rebate” of 18 percent off the list price of its Mercedes and Smart autos, the Stuttgart, Germany-based manufacturer said in a statement today.

After the central bank’s surprise abandonment of a minimum exchange rate caused the franc to surge versus the euro, PSA Peugeot Citroen created a program to offer as much as 1,000 Swiss francs ($1,140) off Peugeot cars and 1,500 francs off the brand’s commercial vehicles. The Swiss Bonus offer runs through the end of January and further actions may be taken, spokesman Mickael Berend said.

The Swiss National Bank sent shockwaves through equity and foreign-exchange markets after deciding on Jan. 15 to drop a policy to prevent the national currency from strengthening beyond 1.20 francs to the euro. The franc, which traded at about 1.01 per euro today, has gained against most currencies since the SNB’s move, lowering the cost of items imported into Switzerland while making exports from the country more expensive.

Zurich-based tour operator Kuoni Reisen Holding AG said yesterday that it’s cutting prices for package trips to the Mediterranean for Swiss customers by 15 percent. Luxury retailer Bongenie Grieder announced a 20 percent price cut at its stores. Conversely, watchmaker Rolex Group is raising its prices in Japan, and competitor Patek Philippe is considering a similar move, after the franc’s 17 percent jump against the yen.