The collapse of the Swiss passenger car market under the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic was expected, just how severe this actually was has now become clear in the registration statistics: With not even 9,000 registered passenger cars at the beginning of the new quarter, this equated to a 68.3 % decline when compared to the same month last year. Registrations of light commercial vehicles up to 3.5t also fell, though not quite as severely, by 43.3 %.
Swiss passenger car market in April 2020
The effects of the COVID19 pandemic hit the Swiss passenger car market with full force in April. Both the private market (- 67.7 %) and commercial registrations (- 69.0 %) suffered almost equally severe declines at the start of the 2nd quarter. On an overall market level, passenger car registrations for the Swiss Confederation thus fell by 68.3 % compared to the same period last year.
In the context of these developments, all commercial sub-channels also showed deep red figures, although the individual effects were in part significantly different: A look at company registrations for the True Fleet market showed a decline of 57.0 % in April. This left the registrations for year-to-date April in the fleet channel at 29.5 % below those of the same period last year.
The more tactically categorised commercial sub-channels were hit much harder: Combined registrations for Dealer/Importer in April were 72.0 % down on the same month last year. Registrations of Car Rental companies fell almost completely and were 91.2 % below the figures for the same period last year.
True fleet market: Importers lose, few winners at model level
At importer level, no brand in the True Fleet market was able to buck the negative trend. Taking the total volume into account, however, five brands each managed to achieve a three-digit number of company registrations. The most popular brands were BMW (- 42.5 %), followed by VW and Skoda (both – 59.2 %). They were followed by Mercedes (- 46.7 %) and Audi (- 56.1 %).
The negative developments were also widely visible at model level. Nevertheless, three of the top 15 fleet models managed to achieve growth in April compared to the same month last year: The Mercedes GLE (+ 161.5 %) was the most positive development, followed by the Peugeot 108 (+ 56.5 %) and the Audi A6 (+ 10.7 %).
Light commercial vehicles also make significant losses
Registrations of light commercial vehicles up to 3.5t also fell significantly in April and were down 43.3 % on the same month last year. With a decline of 50.3 % registrations for the Private market were slightly more affected than commercial registrations (- 41.4 %).
A look at the commercial sub- channels consisting of the Dealer/Importer (- 61.2 %) and the Car Rental channel (- 79.8 %) show that the effects of the COVID19 pandemic in April weighed particularly heavily on these tactical registration channels for light commercial vehicles.
The True Fleet market still performed comparatively well, recording a decline of 37.0 %. However, there were some significant regional differences: While fleet registrations in the cantons of St. Gallen (- 25.8 %) or Lucerne (- 29.7 %) were below the national average, there were significantly larger declines in Vaud (- 52.3 %) or Ticino (- 64.3 %) among others.