The Swiss new car market endures a third consecutive year of decline in 2018 at -4.6% and slips below the 300.000 annual sales mark for the first time since 2010 at 299.716 registrations. Swimming (or rather climbing) upstream however are 4×4 sales, down just 1.5% to represent a world-best 49.1% share for 2018 – that is actual four-wheel-drives, not just crossovers. Even though technically not part of the EU, Switzerland was still impacted by the tumultuous WLTP transition that has disrupted the continent with September sales freefalling 16.8%, due to a lack of available homologated models notably for the VAG Group, traditionally ultra-dominant here. As a result Volkswagen (-8.4%) falls almost twice as fast as the market to 11% share, and was toppled from the its perennial monthly pole position by Mercedes both in February and September. The three-pointed star brand (-1.6%) manages one of the slimmest drops in the Top 20 and peaked at 10.7% share in December, to BSCB’s knowledge its very first time above a 10% Swiss market share this century, and potentially ever. Mercedes also ranked an unusually close 2nd over Q4: just 28 sales below VW in October, 166 in November and 207 in December. BMW (-2.5%) also improves share in third place, peaking 9.3% in November after reaching a high of 10.2% in December 2017. Both carmakers have taken advantage of Audi’s glaring lack of WLTP stock: the four-ringed carmaker drops 10.9% in 2019 to slip below Skoda (-6.9%) at #5 and faced a particularly ghastly end of year at -40% in November and -36% in December. Ford (+9.4%) and Volvo (+8.4%) are the only Top 15 carmakers posting a year-on-year gain while further down, great performers include Lamborghini (+58.9%) thanks to a whopping 48 Urus registered, McLaren (+49.3%), Jaguar (+51.2%), Mitsubishi (+47.8%), Jeep (+40.1%), Kia (+27.2%) and Rolls-Royce (+12.8%) thanks to the new Cullinan.
Despite a painful fall, the Skoda Octavia (-15.6%) manages to repeat in the annual Swiss pole position, outselling the VW Golf (-24.2%) by 1.254 units vs. 517 in 2017. The Octavia being successful in many European markets, two consecutive years at #1 would appear to be relatively mundane. Not in Switzerland, where the VW Golf (-24.2%) ranked #1 during 42 of the 43 years preceding 2017 – with only the Opel Astra snapping the top spot in 1993. This in turn means that bar the Golf, the Skoda Octavia is the only nameplate to have lodged two consecutive years atop the Swiss sales charts since 1973 and the Opel Kadett. Post-World War II Switzerland leaders are as follows: VW Beetle (1948-1968), Opel Rekord, Kadett (1969-1974), VW Golf (1974-1992 and 1994-2016), Opel Astra (1993) and Skoda Octavia (2017-2018). With all nameplates below 3% share, Switzerland continues to be being one of the most fragmented car markets in the world – if not the most. The VW Tiguan (-5.8%) remains in third place and topped the monthly charts twice (July and August) vs. 7 times for the Octavia and 3 for the Golf. The Mercedes GLC (+18.2%) is the best performer atop the ranking, breaking into the annual Top 5 for the first time at #4, while the C-Class (-3.7%) remains at #5, The Audi A3 (+1.8%) is up four spots to #6, all aforementioned models overtaking the VW Polo (-22.4%) in great difficulty despite the new generation. The VW T-Roc brilliantly ends its first full year in market at #9, peaking at #5 in May and June, Switzerland being at the time the second country in the world after Austria where it managed that feat. Notice also the BMW X3 (+49.2%), Mini Countryman (+28%), Ford Focus (+19.8%), Suzuki Swift (+18.3%) and Peugeot 3008 (+18%) shining in the Top 50 while the Skoda Karoq (#34), Hyundai Kona (#51) and Jeep Compass 9#52) are the most popular 2017 launches below the T-Roc. In terms of 2018 launches, the Volvo XC40 (#65) comes tops ahead of the Jaguar E-Pace (#108) and BMW X2 (#111). Finally, notice the Lamborghini Urus at #285 and the Rolls Royce Cullinan at #358.
Two years ago: Switzerland 2016: VW Golf snatches last minute 23rd win
Full Year 2018 Top 55 All-brands and Top 430 All-models vs. Full Year 2017 figures below.
Full December 2018 Top 55 All-brands and Top 330 All-models below.