Student Bastian Gröppel reports about his stay in Switzerland

Switzerland is a different world. As part of a project Bachelor's degree course Bastian Gröppel visited the Pon.Bike Switzerland headquarters in Dierikon on the shore of the Vierwaldstätter See lake. He spent eight weeks working there in the Swiss sales company. This company was established in 1992 and employs ten people.

In addition to the office, the company has its own workshop, a showroom and a warehouse. His stay brought Bastian many experiences and new insights, which he recalls here in a short presentation.

Derby Cycle: “Hello Bastian, what is different from in Germany, what surprised you?”

Bastian: "The linguistic diversity in Switzerland is something special. Four languages are spoken in the country. What’s more, the prices in Switzerland are very high. As almost everything is more expensive here, customers from regions close to the border also like to shop in Germany. This is also true for bicycles, meaning that the German sales price has a major impact on pricing in Switzerland. There are a large number of small bike shops here, with one in almost every village. However, these shops are gradually dying out as larger chain stores are becoming more and more prevalent. As part of a market analysis for Pon.Bike Switzerland, I also obtained other interesting findings: for example, the e-bike market in Switzerland is growing very quickly and currently accounts for 23 per cent of the market in terms of units and 43 per cent in terms of value.”

Derby Cycle: “So are bicycle purchasers in Switzerland different from the German ones?”

Bastian: “It is apparent that the Swiss strongly value high quality, good equipment and good customer service. They are also prepared to spend a bit more money for this though. However, for both the dealers and the manufacturers, this means that customers demand a very flexible and fast service. The benchmark here is the service provided by Fuchs Movesa, which is able to supply dealers with 99 per cent of all replacement parts within 24 hours. What’s more, the Swiss look for products adapted to the country, such as a speed pedelec as a low-entry model. In general, the speed pedelec is an outstanding option for commuting and everyday use."

Derby Cycle: “Did you yourself travel through the Swiss mountains at such high speeds by bike?"

Bastian: “At weekends I spent a lot of time mountain biking through the amazingly beautiful area around the Vierwaldstätter See lake, either by myself or with colleagues. I also cycled to work every day. My accommodation was at the top of a hill. In the mornings I had a quick journey down the valley to work, while the ride back up in the evenings was rather more strenuous.”

Derby Cycle: “What will you be taking home with you from the fantastic impressions you’ve gained?”

Bastian: “I’ve learned that the Swiss have their own solutions for many things. I got to know a lot of great colleagues who are looking forward to staying in touch and who would also like to participate in our events. In addition, I had the opportunity to contribute towards casting light on the organisational structure and develop optimisation strategies, thanks to my surveys. What’s more, I was able to gain a good overview of the bicycle market in Switzerland during numerous visits to dealers. I’m taking a great many things home with me and I would recommend this type of stay abroad to anyone who has the Chance." 

Derby Cycle: "Thank you for all the Information."

Bastian: “You’re welcome.