“Saving the best for last”. The Swiss passenger car market seemed to be following this motto last December. With just over 34,500 registrations and an overall market growth of 25.4%, December was by far the strongest month of the past year, despite the public holidays. Registrations of light commercial vehicles grew even more strongly (+ 41.9%).
Swiss passenger car market in December 2019
With double-digit growth of 17.8% compared to December 2018, the private market ended the year 2019 with an overall increase of 0.6%. Commercial registrations also increased strongly again at the end of the year (+ 31.8%) and were thus a full 7.4 % higher than in 2018.
One factor here was the remarkable end of year spurt in the True Fleet market, which continued in December (+ 22.1%). As a result, True Fleet registrations for 2019 were only 0.9% down on the previous year. In contrast, rental registrations in 2019 grew by a cumulative 1.6%, despite a 6.0% decline in December.
New 2020 CO2 limits a decisive factor for high Dealer/Importer registrations?
With an exceptional increase of 73.1% compared to the same month last year, the Dealer/Importer channel was the main contributor for the large increases in commercial registrations. In particular, new registrations by the Dealers rose again noticeably in December (+ 82.2%) and broke through the 50,000 passenger car mark for the year as a whole (+ 20.2%). Interestingly the largest increases in December were recorded in particular by vehicles with above-average CO2 emissions, for example of 180-199 g/km (+ 364.0%), 200-219 g/km (+ 262.8%) or 220-239 g/km (+ 219.4%).
Passenger car brand and model performance in the True Fleet market
All the top 15 importer brands were able to benefit from the once again positive development of the True Fleet market, with Tesla (+ 366.2%), Subaru (338.9%) and Porsche (193.2%) realizing the largest of these increases for December. The top 3 brands for the full year 2019 were Volkswagen, Skoda and BMW. As in the previous year, the most popular fleet model with almost 4.750 registrations was the Skoda Octavia (+ 15.3%) ahead of the VW Tiguan (- 0.3%). With cumulative growth of 20.6%, the SEAT Leon followed in third place. The Tesla Model 3 was ranked fifth favorite of Swiss fleet operators, making it the first vehicle in the model ranking not to come from the Volkswagen Group.
Strong growth in light commercial vehicles at year-end
Registrations of light commercial vehicles up to 3.5t also rose significantly in December (+ 41.9%). While exactly the same number of vehicles were registered in the private market as in the same month of the previous year, commercial registrations grew by a whopping 48.9% in December, with the True Fleet market growing by 9.0%. For the channel of company cars, this represents a cumulative plus of 2.1% in 2019.
As it was the case throughout the year, the tactical channels of Rentals and Dealer/Importer were the main drivers of growth in commercial registrations for December. Registrations by Rental companies rose again in the last month of the year (+ 130.0%), which means that for 2019 the equivalent companies registered a total of 44.2% more vehicles than in 2018.
Swiss dealers’ registration behavior for the light commercial vehicle segment up to 3.5t was similarly comparable to the passenger car sector for December. Registrations rose again by 256.2% compared with the same month last year and the majority of registered vehicles had above-average CO2 values of, for example, 260-279 g/km (+ 2,900%), 240-259 g/km (+ 800.0%), or 220-239 g/km (+ 700.0%).
Importer ranking of light commercial vehicles in the True Fleet market
As in the previous year, the top 3 importer brands for 2019 as a whole were VW (- 5.8%), Mercedes (+ 2.1%) and Ford (+ 4.0%). Renault followed in fourth place, recording the largest increase for last year with + 19.0%. The most popular model among Swiss fleet managers in 2019 was once again the VW Transporter (- 6.9%), followed by the Ford Transit Custom (+ 20.5%) and the Mercedes Sprinter (+ 4.6%).