2012 (Full Year) Switzerland: Best-Selling Car Models

The Volkswagen Golf was again Switzerland’s favorite car in 2012. The Skoda Octavia and VW Polo were also best sellers on the Swiss car market.

Red VW Golf VII
Volkswagen Golf – Switzerland’s favorite car model. © Volkswagen Media Services

In 2012, the Volkswagen Golf maintained its traditional position at the top of the list of best-selling car models in Switzerland. The Skoda Octavia was again the second most popular car in Switzerland with the VW Polo third. Volkswagen models dominated the list of best-selling cars in Switzerland in 2012 even more than in previous years while French and Italian models had a dismal year. Exotic sports cars still sell well in Switzerland.

The Swiss Car Market in 2012

2012 was the second strongest year ever for the Swiss car market with 328,139 (+2.9%) new passenger vehicle registrations. Only in 1989 were more cars sold in Switzerland in a single year.

Particularly noteworthy is the increase in the popularity of SUVs, which made up a third of the Swiss new car market in 2012 vs. 20% in 2011. Several SUV models made it onto the top 30 list of best-selling car models in Switzerland in 2012 with the VW Tiguan taking the fourth spot.

Top 30 Best-Selling Car Models in Switzerland in 2012

The top 30 best-selling car models in Switzerland in 2012 according to new passenger vehicle registration data released by Auto-Schweiz were:

2012 2011 Marque Model 2012
1 1 VW Golf 12,413
2 2 Skoda Octavia 10,424
3 3 VW Polo 6,427
4 17 VW Tiguan 5,481
5 5 VW Passat 4,930
6 10 VW Touran 4,400
7 21 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 4,391
8 7 Ford Fiesta 4,339
9 4 Opel Astra 4,267
10 9 Audi A4 4,212
11 8 Renault Clio 4,208
12 27 Toyota Yaris 4,065
13 15 Ford Focus 4,028
14 New Subaru XV 3,923
15 12 Skoda Fabia 3,909
16 13 Ford Kuga 3,743
17 25 Nissan Qashqai 3,728
18 20 BMW 3 Series 3,688
19 11 Renault Megane 3,676
20 x BMW X3 3,644
21 14 Audi A3 3,643
22 23 BMW 1 Series 3,513
23 22 Opel Corsa 3,231
24 19 Suzuki Swift 3,210
25 24 BMW 5er 3,055
26 16 Seat Ibiza 3,015
27 x Audi Q3 2,970
28 26 Renault Scenic 2,865
29 30 Volvo XC60 2,804
30 x Suzuki SX4 2,780
Quelle: ASTRA/MOFIS/auto-schweiz

Changes in the Top 30 Best-Selling Models in Switzerland in 2012

The VW Golf maintained its position as Switzerland’s favorite car in 2012. However, for the first time since 1994 the Golf was not the top seller all twelve months of the year. The Golf lost out to the Subaru XV once and twice to second place Skoda Octavia.

However, the launch of the new Volkswagen Golf VII in November saw the Golf firmly in charge of the top-sellers list for the total year. Golf sales in the otherwise very weak December were double that of November.

VW-owned Skoda again had the Octavia as the second best-selling car model in Switzerland in 2012. The Octavia outsold the Golf twice in 2012 and Skoda will no doubt hope for a similar boost in sales when the new Skoda launch early in 2013. The outgoing model is already being discounted heavily.

Despite selling a thousand cars less in 2012, the aging VW Polo still maintained its third place from last year.

From here, the top-sellers list changed drastically from last year. In 2011, four Volkswagen models made it onto the top-ten list of best-selling cars in Switzerland. In 2012, it was five with all in the top six. A further two VW-owned sister cars made it onto the top ten list too.

The VW Tiguan shot up the best-sellers list from 17th to fourth. The Tiguan took advantage of the increased popularity of SUVs in Switzerland in 2012. The VW Passat, which received a model update, maintained its fifth place from last year.

The Mercedes C-Class, helped by special discount offers, shot up from 21st to seventh. The Ford Fiesta slipped one place, as did the Audi A4. The Opel Astra slipped from fourth to ninth while the Renault Clio, which saw a model change, slipped from eighth to eleventh.

The big loser was the Peugeot 207. A model change saw the 207 slipped to fiftieth and no Peugeot model in the top 30. However, the Peugeot 208 is almost certain to return to the top ten in 2013.

Further down the list, noteworthy changes include the Toyota Yaris up from 27th to twelfth and the Honda Jazz slipping off the list from 18 th. The new Subaru XV, a compact SUV, entered the list at 14th. Other SUVs improving included the VW Tiguan, Nissan Qashqai, BMW X3, and Audi Q3.

Expensive, Exotic, and Sports Car Sales in Switzerland in 2012

Switzerland has a hugely competitive car market where a small change in sales numbers can easily make a big difference to the model’s rank position on the list of best-selling cars.

The Golf and Octavia has a comfortable lead but lower down things get more competitive: 9 models are in the 4,000 to 5,000 band, 14 between 3,000 and 4,000, 30 between 2,000 and 3,000, and 50 between 1,000 and 2,000. Swiss car statistics list over 400 car models that sold more than one car each in Switzerland in 2012 plus around 350 more that sold only a single car.

The huge number of models makes for some interesting reading. A few statistics as supplied by Auto-Schweiz:

The Porsche Panamera clearly won the battle of the large sedans in Switzerland in 2012:

Audi A8 192
BMW 7 Series 120
Mercedes-Benz S-Class 204
Porsche Panamera 372

Sales of exotic and sport cars in Switzerland in 2012 – some outsold mainstream family sedans (Porsche shifted 21 more 911s than Volvo sold V40s):

Aston Martin DB9 11
Aston Martin DBS 35
Aston Martin Rapide 22
Aston Martin V12 Vantage 26
Aston Martin V8 Vantage 59
Aston Martin Vanquish 5
Aston Martin Virage 34
Bentley Continental GT 155
Bentley Flying Spur 13
Bentley Mulsanne 9
Bentley Supersports 9
Bugatti Veyron 6
Ferrari 458 167
Ferrari 599 GTB 8
Ferrari 599 GTO 7
Ferrari 599 SA 6
Ferrari California 65
Ferrari FF 94
Ferrari F12 14
Lamborghini Aventador 34
Lamborghini Gallardo 43
Lamborghini Murcielago 3
Maserati GranCabrio 59
Maserati Granturismo 65
Maserati GT MC Stradale 7
Maserati Quattroporte 25
McLaren MP4-12C 38
Mercedes-Benz SLS 104
Morgan 4/4 18
Morgan Aero 8 2
Morgan Aero Super Sports 4
Morgan Plus 4 12
Morgan Roadster 3000 8
Porsche 911 732
Rolls Royce Ghost 10
Rolls Royce Phantom 7
Tesla Roadster 25
Quelle: ASTRA/MOFIS/auto-schweiz

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.