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Nearly 200 K-Group car dealership jobs threatened

The number of first-time car registrations has fallen by 12 percent in a year.

Lähikuva autojen keuloista autoliikkeessä.
Consumers are increasingly likely to purchase used cars from abroad rather than new domestic ones. Image: Nella Nuora / Yle

Car dealerships K-Auto and K-Caara on Tuesday announced the beginning of co-determination talks that could lead to 190 people losing their jobs.

Importer K-Auto CEO Johan Friman said the negotiations are necessary because of a dramatic slump in Finland's auto industry.

"Early this year we found that first-time registrations had fallen by 12 percent from 2018," Friman said in a release.

"Consumers are more doubtful of cars on the cusp of new technologies and imported used cars are rapidly gaining popularity. The problems may be temporary, but we do not expect the situation to improve in the near future."

Friman also highlighted the introduction of the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) in 2017. The test is used to measure fuel consumption and CO2 emissions from passenger cars, as well as their pollutant emissions. The rigorous procedure phased out the previous New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), which was largely discredited when it emerged that major carmakers such as BMW and Audi had developed devices to cheat the test.

K-Auto imports the cars then K-Caara retails the vehicles at outlets. Both firms are part of the Kesko group of companies, which co-dominates Finland's retail industry alongside the S Group.

Altogether nearly 1,500 employees will be affected by the co-determination negotiations.

Previously this year K-Caara acquired the rights to three new car brands from dealership Laakkonen.

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