2012 (Full Year) Switzerland: Best-Selling Car Manufacturers and Brands

Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and BMW were the three top-selling car brands in Switzerland in 2012.

Volkswagen-Eco-UP Rear View closeup
Volkswagen produced Switzerland’s favorite cars Photo: Volkswagen Media Service

Volkswagen easily remained the best-selling car brand in Switzerland in 2012. VW-owned Audi and Skoda took second and third place. BMW moved ahead of Ford into fourth while Renault slipped to sixth and Mercedes improved into seventh place ahead of Opel. Overall car sales in Switzerland in 2012 were up by 3% but the second half was weak.

The Swiss Car Market in 2012

New passenger vehicle registrations in Switzerland increased by 2.9% in 2012 to 328,139 cars. This was the highest figure since 1989, the only year more cars were sold in Switzerland than in 2012.

Although the Swiss car market showed positive growth over the full year, the second half of 2012 was much weaker than the first. Mid-year 2012, car sales in Switzerland were up 12% and the third quarter still 5.5% higher than in 2011. It seems almost inevitable that car sales will decline in Switzerland in 2013.

SUV increased in popularity in Switzerland with a market share of 33.5% (up 20%) of new passenger vehicle registration in 2012. Alternative energy vehicles – i.e. hybrid, electric or gas – increased by 21% to 8,416 cars, or 2.6% of the Swiss new car market.

Best-Selling Carmakers in Switzerland in 2012

New passenger vehicle registration data released by Auto Schweiz shows that the following were the top-selling car brands and marques in Switzerland in 2012:

2012% Share2011+/- %
27Alfa Romeo2,8180.94,106-31.4
Quelle: auto-schweiz / ASTRA/MOFIS 4.01.13

Top Ten Best-Selling Car Brands in Switzerland 2012

Volkswagen easily maintained its traditional position as Switzerland’s favorite car manufacturer. Volkswagen saw solid growth of 9% with the Golf again the best-selling car model.

VW-owned Audi maintained its second place with sales growth of over 19%. VW-owned Skoda had another strong year (+9.5%) and moved from sixth place in 2011 to third this year. The Skoda Octavia had been very popular for years in Switzerland and should benefit from a model change in 2013.

BMW (+8.1%) moved up one place at the expense of Ford (down from third) and Renault (down from fourth). Ford and Opel continue to struggle with both strongly underperforming the overall market. Opel moved another place down the ranking while Mercedes improved from ninth place last year.

Mercedes (+18.5%) saw solid growth although mid-year it was still up 41% – partly due to changes in purchases of large cars ahead of tax regime changes.

In contrast to German luxury car manufacturers, the French trio struggled in Switzerland in 2012 with sales sharply down. Peugeot moved down two places allowing Toyota to move up one place despite weak sales.

Lower down the list Kia and Hyundai continue to improve while Subaru benefited from the increase in popularity of four-wheel-drive vehicles including its compact XV SUV. Similarly, Land Rover more than doubled sales while Jeep and Dodge sales were up by more than half.

Alfa Romeo led the league of underperformers. All Japanese manufacturers, except Subaru, had weaker sales in Switzerland in 2012 than the year before.

About the author:

Henk Bekker

Henk Bekker is a freelance writer with over 20 years of experience in online writing. His best-selling cars website has been reporting car sales statistics since 2008 with classic car auction prices focusing on the most expensive automobiles sold at public auctions in the past decade. He also owns the travel websites European-Traveler.com and Lake Geneva Switzerland. Henk holds an MBA from Edinburgh Business School and an MSc in Finance from the University of London.