Press release

18 Nov 2021 Zurich, CH

Slump in the new car market – sales crisis widens

Zurich, 18 November 2021. The new car market in Switzerland shrank by around 30 percent (28%) compared to the same month last year.

Related topics Mobility
  • New registrations in Switzerland slump by almost 30 percent in October, sharp decline also in the EU
  • Plug-in hybrids and electric cars reach record market share of almost 25 percent in Switzerland in October
  • High pent-up demand: Sales boom expected from mid-2022

The new car market in Switzerland shrank by around 30 percent (28%) compared to the same month last year.

So far this year, new car sales in Switzerland have been six percent higher than last year and 27 percent lower than in 2019. All major European markets were down by double digits in October. Italy (down 36 percent) as well as Germany and Belgium (both down 35 percent) recorded particularly strong declines. So far this year, EU-wide sales have been just above last year’s level – by 2 percent – but 31 percent below 2019 levels.

“The crisis in the new car market is widening,” said Olivier Mange, Partner at EY. “This year, even fewer new cars will be sold in Switzerland than in the already weak previous year. We are thus far below the pre-crisis level and a turnaround is not in sight for the time being. The chip crisis is expected to lead to significant losses until the middle of next year. This is leading to corresponding financial implications for the car trade, manufacturers, and suppliers.”

According to Mange, the used car market is currently a beacon of hope for the car trade. The shortage of new vehicles is leading to a veritable run on used vehicles. Prices in this segment are rising accordingly.

Electric market share doubles

The chip crisis is also slowing down sales momentum in what is actually a booming market for electrified new cars: Sales of electric cars in the five largest markets in Western Europe (Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Spain) rose by only 52 percent in October (September: up 60 percent, year to date: up 94 percent). In Switzerland, there was growth of 47 percent in October and an increase of 79 percent so far this year.

The growth dynamic for plug-in hybrids slowed down even more. In Switzerland, growth slowed down significantly: from 82 percent (January to October) to only two percent in October. In the top five markets, plug-in hybrids gained only eight percent in October. In September, the growth rate was still at 28 percent, so far this year at 116 percent. “The chip crisis has now finally reached the electric segment,” observed Mange.

Nevertheless, the market share of electrified new cars rose to a new record high: 22.1 percent of all new passenger cars registered in the top five markets in Western Europe were either electric cars (12.7 percent) or plug-in hybrids (9.4 percent). By way of comparison: In the previous month (September 2021), the market share was 21.5 percent; a year ago, in October 2020, electric cars and plug-in hybrids had a combined market share of 11.8 percent. 

Overall, demand for electrified new cars is currently proving to be particularly high in German-speaking countries. For example, the combined market share of plug-in hybrids and electric cars was 24.9 percent in Switzerland and 23.5 percent in Austria in October. Germany again had the highest market share of electrified new cars among the top five markets in October with 30.4 percent, followed by the United Kingdom (23.1 percent) and France (22.9 percent). In Spain, on the other hand, only 11.1 percent of new cars in September were plug-in hybrids or electric cars.

“The demand for electric cars and plug-in hybrids is persistently high and continues to rise,” said Mange. “The fact that the growth curve is currently flattening is solely due to supply difficulties. We expect further strong growth in this segment in the coming year,” predicted Mange. The reason: “Manufacturers are currently expanding their portfolios especially in electric cars and are launching new attractive models in all price categories.”

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