2013 (Q1) Switzerland: Best-Selling Car Brands and Models

2013 started with Volkswagen still the top-selling car make in Switzerland and the VW Golf just outselling the Skoda Octavia to remain the Swiss favorite car model.

New Red Skoda OCtavia Combi

The first three months of 2013 saw Swiss new passenger vehicle registrations decline by 9.3% with top-selling car manufacturer Volkswagen leading the market down with sharply weaker sales. Audi passed Skoda to become the second best-selling car marque in Switzerland while BMW overtook Mercedes. All Japanese car brands increased the number of cars sold in Switzerland during the first quarter of 2013 while almost all other brands contracted. The Volkswagen Golf just managed to remain Switzerland’s favorite car – it was outsold by the Skoda Octavia in both January and February 2013.

The Swiss Car Market in 2013 (Q1)

During the first quarter of 2013, new passenger vehicle registrations in Switzerland declined by 9.3% to 71,751 cars. The downturn was not unexpected, 2012 was the second strongest year ever for car sales in Switzerland and the market was already slowing down by the end of the year.

The market was also hindered by uncertainty over prices. Several manufacturers and importers announced an end to the “Euro bonus” and similar discount schemes that have been widely in use since the dramatic rise in the strength of the Swiss franc. These schemes are replaced by lower sticker prices, which has an influence on amongst other things insurance premiums, which may have encouraged buyers to put purchases off. Volkswagen Skoda, Seat, and Nissan are amongst the manufacturers implementing lower prices from mid-March or early April.

Best-Selling Carmakers in Switzerland in 2013 (Q1)

The 30 top-selling passenger vehicle manufacturers in Switzerland from January to March 2013 according to car sales statistics released by Auto Schweiz were:

Car Brand% Share Q1/2013%  Share Q1/2012Sales Q1/2013Sales Q1/2012Q1 % Change
28Alfa Romeo0.71.0533755-29.4
Source: auto-schweiz / ASTRA/MOFIS

Top-Selling Car Marques in Switzerland in 2013 (Q1)

The first quarter of 2013 saw major changes in the relative positions of car manufacturers in Switzerland. With the exception of Volkswagen, Hyundai, Honda, and Mini, all other carmakers saw a change in their sales rank compared to the first quarter of 2012.

Volkswagen easily maintained its position as Switzerland’s favorite car brand despite much weaker sales that cost the German carmaker 3% market share. Only Alfa Romeo saw a bigger drop in sales.

VW-owned Audi overtook VW-owned Skoda to become the second strongest selling car brand in Switzerland. BMW had a positive quarter, like Audi, and overtook Mercedes, which gained market share despite a drop in sales and sales rank.

Opel gained two positions despite much weaker sales. Ford and Renault cars sold even worse in Switzerland at the start of 2013 and both makes slipped two positions.

Toyota moved back into the top-ten list from 12th last year while Peugeot slipped on place. Citroën slipped out of the top ten.

Japanese carmakers, which had very weak sales in Switzerland in recent years all had a positive start to 2013. Toyota is back in the top 10 while Suzuki, Mazda and Honda all saw strong gains. Mitsubishi was the only Japanese carmaker with weaker sales.

Top-Selling Car Models in Switzerland 2013 (Q1)

The top-ten best-selling car models in Switzerland according to Swiss car sales statistics released by Auto Schweiz were:

Source: auto-schweiz / ASTRA/MOFIS

At first glance it was a familiar story with the VW Golf at the top of list of the best-selling car models in Switzerland. The Skoda Octavia was again second followed by the Volkswagen Polo.

However, the second-place Skoda Octavia comfortably outsold the Golf in January and February and was probably denied the top spot for the first quarter of 2013 by the lack of stock due to the arrival of the new Skoda Octavia in Switzerland during the second quarter of 2013. The VW Golf VII was launched in Switzerland in November 2012 with more models (GTi, Variant) becoming available later in 2013.

The competition is heating up as follows:

VW Golf53480512082547
Skoda Octavia80810176932518

Compared to full year 2012, the rest of the top-ten list was drastically altered and saw the return of French and Japanese car models to the list. The Audi A4 improved from tenth. The new Peugeot 208 entered the top-ten while the new Renault Clio improved from 11th last year to a joint sixth with Toyota Yaris.

The VW Tiguan slipped from fourth while the VW Passat and Touran slipped out of the top ten altogether; as did the Ford Fiesta and Mercedes C Class. The Nissan Qashqai and BMW 3 Series both improved eight places, with the BMW 1 Series the first car to miss out on the top-ten list.

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.