Swiss new-car registrations record drastic slump in October

11 November 2021

Hans-Peter Annen, head of valuations & insights Switzerland at Eurotax (part of Autovista Group), analyses how the Swiss automotive market is holding up.

Following trends seen in other European markets, new-car sales in Switzerland have been impacted by COVID-19 and component supply issues. These problems continue to slow vehicle production, and therefore add delays to the delivery of new models to customers.

These problems are also reflected dramatically in the new registration figures for October: 15,060 new passenger cars were registered in October 2021, which is 28.2% less than in October 2020, and thus a full 42.3% less than in 2019. In total 195,133 cars were registered by the end of October 2021, and thus only up 5.8% compared with the miserable last year, but still 22.7% down on 2019. No significant improvement is in sight for the rest of the year either, and new-vehicle registration figures are not expected to recover until 2022.

New-car registrations by month 2018-2021

Source: Eurotax/ASTRA-IVZ

Stable demand for used cars

The used-car market, on the other hand, has been at a high since summer 2020 and is underpinned by stable demand with low supply. Even in 2020, the number of used-car registrations was 830,634 (-2.1%), only slightly below the previous year’s figure of 848,100. In the first 10 months of 2021, the number of used-car registrations increased by 1.4% to 699,628 compared to 689,865 in 2020. This means that the market this year is slightly below the level of 2019, where 705,300 changes of ownership were registered up to October.

The volume of active offers for used cars on the market is currently around 29% lower than it was at the beginning of February 2020 before the pandemic. Prices for petrol and diesel vehicles have particularly increased due to this shortage, whereas hybrid and electric vehicles have only reacted to it with a delay and to a lesser extent.

Used-car registrations by month: 2018 – 2021

Source: Eurotax/ASTRA-IVZ

With regard to the future development of the used-car market, the supply situation is decisive. As long as the number of new-car registrations is significantly lower than before the crisis, the supply of used vehicles will remain scarce and prices will continue to rise. Residual values are likely to rise further this year, and at the beginning of next year, before stabilising over the course of 2022.