2015 (Q1) Switzerland: Best-Selling Car Brands and Models

Ferrari FF and California T at Geneva Auto Show 2015Volkswagen remained the best-selling car brand in Switzerland in the first quarter of 2015 but the Skoda Octavia replaced the VW Golf as top-selling model. After a slow start to the year, new passenger car registrations in Switzerland in March 2015 increased by 20% for a 5.7% expansion of the Swiss car market during the first quarter of the year. Mercedes became the second most-popular car marque in Switzerland.

The Swiss Car Market in 2015 (Q1)

New passenger vehicle registration in Switzerland increased by 5.7% to 72,275 cars during the first quarter of 2015. After a slow start to the year – sales were down 9% in January – the Swiss market started to pick up in February (+2.1%) and in March expanded by a phenomenal 20% – one of the biggest monthly increases in Swiss history.

The overnight 15% appreciation of the Swiss frank in mid-January largely received the credit for the strong expansion of car sales in Switzerland at the start of 2015. In contrast to previous years, when car importers were slow to react to a strengthening frank – and paid the price when Swiss buyers learned self-importing a car is not that difficult – most manufacturers reduced prices almost immediately.

Best-Selling Car Brands in Switzerland in 2015 (Q1)

The top-selling car marques in Switzerland during the first three months of 2015 according to new passenger vehicle registration figures released by Auto Schweiz were:

Q1/2015BrandQ1/2015Q1/2014% Change
Total Market72,27568,3955.7
29Alfa Romeo288482-40.2

Top Ten Best-Selling Car Brands in Switzerland in 2015 (Q1)

The Swiss new passenger car market is famously competitive with a remarkably large number of manufacturers competing with many models in a relatively small, but very wealthy, car market. The 6th and 15th best-selling car brands for the first quarter of 2015 are only around a thousand cars apart.

Volkswagen easily maintained its position as the leading car marque in Switzerland despite marginally underperforming the broader market. VW was one of the importers slow to lower prices after the jump of the frank – partly due to restrictive import agreements that needed adjustments.

In contrast, Mercedes-Benz Switzerland lowered all prices almost immediately after the appreciation of the frank against the euro and increased sales by nearly 40% – the best performance among the top 20 best-selling brands. Mercedes-Benz improved from 4th a year ago to 2nd this year and gained nearly 2% market share.

BMW slipped from 2nd last year to 3rd despite increasing sales by 15%. Skoda increased sales by more than a fifth but slipped one place due to Mercedes-Benz’s performance and ended the quarter only 5 cars behind BMW.

Audi maintained 5th place with flat sales, partly due to the same delay as VW in lowering prices. Renault climbed three places with sales up 19% while Citroen entered the top-10 list from 12th by selling nearly a quarter more cars during the first quarter of 2015 compared to a year ago.

Ford slipped one place despite selling 10% more cars while Opel had another disastrous quarter with sales down 15% and a full percentage point market share lost.

Peugeot maintained its top 10 position with strong sales while Hyundai slipped from 8th a year ago to 11th.

Best-Selling Car Brands in Switzerland in 2015 (Q1)

A few further salient features from the 30 best-selling car brands in Switzerland during the first three months of 2015:

  • The strongest improvements were by Porsche, Mitsubishi and Smart.
  • The worst performers were Alfa Romeo, Opel and Volvo.
  • Lexus entered the top 30 list at the expense of Chevrolet that has withdrawn from the European market.
  • Porsche more than doubled sales with nearly half of Porsche cars sold in Switzerland being the new smaller Macan SUV.
  • Smart benefited from the long-expected launch of the new model at the end of 2014. Mini similarly had weak sales during the first quarter of 2014 due to the expected arrival of a new model.

Top 20 Best-Selling Car Models in Switzerland in 2015 (Q1)

The 20 most popular car models in Switzerland during the first quarter of 2015 according to car sales statistics released by Auto Schweiz were:

47BMW3 Series936

Ten Most-Popular Car Models in Switzerland in 2015 (Q1)

Due to the large number of models chasing a relatively small market in Switzerland, the models on the top ten best-selling car models list changes more often than in many larger countries. However, the VW Golf is usually a safe bet as the Swiss favorite car model.

The Volkswagen Golf duly took the lead in January but in February and March was outsold by the Skoda Octavia, allowing the Octavia to take first place for the first quarter of 2015. The Octavia has long been a favorite with Swiss buyers and has regularly taken second place – and occasionally first place – behind the Golf – a sister car that it has much in common with.

The VW Polo received a minor model update during 2014 allowing it to improve from 8th to 3rd during the first quarter of 2015.

The new Mercedes-Benz C Class did even better by improving from 18th a year ago to the fourth most popular car model in Switzerland this year. The Audi A3 and Seat Leon – both cars sister models of the Golf and Octavia – maintained their places from a year ago.

The BMW 3 Series slipped from 4th to 7th – at least partly due to BMW’s decision to split the models into the 3 and 4 ranges. Not being too popular may have some advantages for a car claiming to be premium or exclusive.

The VW Tiguan dropped from 3rd to 8th. The VW Touran and Passat dropped off the top 20 list altogether.

The Renault Clio is again popular in Switzerland shooting into the top ten from 24th a year ago.

The Mercedes-Benz A Class slipped on place while the new GLA entered the list at 11th.

The two models dropping off the top-ten list from a year ago were the Nissan Qasqai from 7th to 14th and the Peugeot 208 from 10th to 18th.

Ferraris Sold in Switzerland in 2015 (Q1)

Sales statistics in Switzerland list around 375 models with the more interesting statistics generally further down on the list. As usual in Switzerland, exclusivity is easier found in a VW Jetta than in a Ferrari.

The best-selling Ferraris in Switzerland during the first quarter of 2015 were the California (28) and the 458 (25). Ferrari sold 10 FF cars – exactly the same number of Jettas Volkswagen managed to have register in Switzerland. More exclusive than a Jetta were the F12 (9) or the single La Ferrari.

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.