Swiss used-car market remains stable in September but supply issues loom

04 November 2021

Robert Madas, Autovista Group’s regional head of valuations for Austria, Poland, and Switzerland, analyses how new-car registrations and used-car sales performed in September.

The Swiss new-car market has been in a state of crisis as a result of COVID-19, with new-car registrations consistently well below pre-pandemic levels. A lack of semiconductors has meant delays in the delivery of new vehicles, preventing a faster recovery in the new-car market.

These problems are reflected in September’s new-car registration figures. 19,648 new passenger cars were registered in the reporting period, which is 8.4% less than in the same month last year. In total, 180,073 cars were registered by the end of September 2021, up only 10.1% compared to the severely impacted results from 2020. Looking at 2019, current registrations for the year-to-date are down 20.4%. No significant improvement is in sight for the rest of the year, and new-car registration figures are not expected to recover until 2022.

New-car registrations by month 2018-2021

Source: Eurotax/ASTRA-IVZ

Good used-car demand

On the other hand, the used-car market has been at a high since summer 2020, underpinned by stable demand and low supply. Even with COVID-19’s impacts, the number of used-car transactions was 830,634, only 2.1% below the previous year’s figure of 848,100. In the first nine months of 2021, the number of used-car transactions increased by 2.6% to 631,985, compared to 616,119 in 2020. This means the used-car market this year is even slightly above the level of 2019, where 630,200 changes of ownership were recorded up to August.

The volume of active offers on the market is currently around 28% lower than it was at the beginning of February 2020 before COVID-19. Prices for petrol and diesel vehicles have particularly increased due to this shortage. In contrast, hybrid and electrically-chargeable vehicles have only reacted to it with a delay and to a lesser extent.

Used-car transactions by month 2018 – 2021

Source: Eurotax/ASTRA-IVZ

Regarding 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 increase further this year and at the beginning of 2022, before stabilising over the following months.