By on September 18, 2012

After marking September 11 with the US 2001 best-sellers, announcing the launch of the Africa Project and a couple of world updates (Top 150 best-selling models in June 2012 and our monthly World Roundup for July 2012), today I have to stop in Switzerland because we are witnessing a Japanese earthquake there…

Not in the mood for mountainous countries? There are 167 other countries and territories in my blog ready for you to explore, so get to it!

Back to Switzerland.

Japanese earthquake?

I can hear you wondering what the … I’m talking about.

Well you see, Switzerland is very much like Germany when it comes to cars. Actually, the Swiss are more German than the Germans: the Volkswagen Golf has been the best-selling model since its inception in 1974, (that’s a whopping 38 years vs. around 20 for the Beetle!) whereas in Germany the Golf’s reign was interrupted by the Mercedes W123 in 1980.

And here comes the earthquake.

Although I haven’t received access to monthly sales figures in Switzerland before 2011, looking at the market share difference between the Golf and the #2 model at the end of each year, it is fair to assume that the Golf has been dominating the Swiss models ranking almost every single month since 1974.

In August 2012 and possibly for the first time since the nameplate’s original launch in 1974, the VW Golf is not the #1 model in Switzerland, not even #2 but #3 with 625 sales and 2.8 percent share.

‘Switzerland in XV fever’ 

There are two culprits in this unheard-of move: the Skoda Octavia, ranking at its usual #2 but passing the Golf for potentially the first time ever with 661 units and 3 percent share – still lower than its year-to-date level at 3.2 percent, and the outstanding performer of the month: the Subaru XV. After shooting up to a world-best 4th place last month, the XV does the unthinkable: it is up 3 spots to an unbelievable first place in Switzerland with 722 sales and 3.3 percent share – and this is even without counting sales of its twin Impreza (39)!

The Subaru Leone. #7 in the 80’s

Subaru’s tagline is ‘Switzerland’s 4×4′ and the Alpine nation has been its best-performing country in Europe for decades, starting with the Subaru Leone, #7 in the eighties, then the Subaru Legacy, #11 in the nineties, and the Subaru Impreza #24 in 2007. But never had any Subaru been that successful in Switzerland. It will be fascinating to see where the XV stabilises once the ‘honeymoon’ with consumers, traditional in the first few months of sales, is over. You can see the Subaru XV’s Swiss TV commercials here.

Switzerland August 2012 Top 10:

Pos Model Aug % July 2012 % Pos 2011
1 Subaru XV 722 3.3% 4 2,359 1.1% 20  –
2 Skoda Octavia 661 3.0% 2 7,106 3.2% 2 2
3 VW Golf 625 2.8% 1 8,692 3.9% 1 1
4 Audi A4 431 2.0% 10 2,698 1.2% 11 9
5 Mercedes C Class 373 1.7% 7 3,322 1.5% 5 22
6 VW Tiguan 323 1.5% 6 3,777 1.7% 4 18
7 VW Passat 321 1.5% 22 3,315 1.5% 6 5
8 VW Polo 313 1.4% 9 3,937 1.8% 3 3
9 Audi A3 311 1.4% 8 2,633 1.2% 12 14
10 Seat Alhambra 298 1.4% 42 1,623 0.7% 40 84

You can check out the entire Top 50 best-sellers in Switzerland in August 2012 here, and more about car sales in Switzerland here.

Matt Gasnier, based in Sydney, Australia, runs a blog named Best Selling Cars, dedicated to counting cars all over the world.

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10 Comments on “Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: Japanese Earthquake in Switzerland...”

  • avatar

    Ah Switzerland, my old home.

    And home of the ludicrously expensive. . .everything.

    Why don’t you tell the readers how much those “economy” cars cost in th CH?

  • avatar

    I did it for you (I also worked in Switzerland for a while)

    From 25k CHF to 35k

    I don’t think that is too expensive – compared to the salaries there, it sure is, as you say, an economy(ic) car

    (Unless I’m missing something – please correct!)

    • 0 avatar

      The problem with Switzerland is that the marginally higher salaries do not come close to compensating for the insanely high price of everything else. A base Cadillac Escalade in Luzern retails for well over $120,000. The average Swiss person is not making $150,000 a year. The real wealth in Switzerland is held by foreign people/corporations. It’s a beautiful country though.

  • avatar

    The only car/wagon that is on my radar as replacement for my 07 Outback in a few years is the Crosstrek…but with a diesel because the new 2.0l has very little torque. And just like my Outback now, with a manual.

  • avatar

    It surprises me that Japanese aren’t best selling the world over. They generally hit what I think of as the sweet spot. Guess politics and old hatred (china) have a lot to do with that.

  • avatar

    The farmers here love them some Subaroo 4x4s!

  • avatar

    And what % of those XV’s are diesel powered? Why not for the Canadian market, I’d buy it with a Diesel.

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