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Light and shadow in the past automotive year

Electromobility seems to be on the verge of a breakthrough

The Corona year 2020 was an extremely heavy burden for many industries around the world. The local automotive industry was also faced with immense challenges. Only 236,828 new cars have hit the streets in Switzerland and Liechtenstein in the past twelve months. The decrease compared to 2019 is 24 percent or 74 638 redemptions - despite a final spurt in December, which alone accounted for 29 451 new registrations, writes the Association of Swiss Automobile Importers (Auto-Schweiz) in a message. «2020
is a lost year for the Swiss automotive industry in terms of market development, "said Auto-Schweiz spokesman Christoph Wolnik, commenting on the sobering result. And further: "We had hoped to be able to end at least one calendar month with a small plus." For this year, the association expects slightly more sales than in 2020. However, according to Christoph Wolnik, the prospects for this year are mixed: “For the overall market, we are assuming a level of 270,000 matriculations. However, this estimate is based on the assumption that the negative consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic will be contained as soon as possible. "
Switzerland is not alone with these poor numbers. Similar or even worse numbers are emerging in Europe and America. But things are not going so badly everywhere. In China, the largest car market in the world, sales figures have almost reached the previous year's level despite the pandemic.

One of the bright spots in Switzerland was the rapidly growing share of alternative drives. A record was achieved with a market share of 28.2 percent. Auto-Schweiz's “10/20” target, which stipulated a ten percent share of electric cars and plug-in hybrids, was even exceeded by 4.3 percentage points. However, one cannot simply transfer the further development of alternative drives to the following years, writes Auto-Schweiz. A study commissioned by Auto-Schweiz shows that the market potential of alternative drives has not yet been exhausted. According to this, 62 percent of the Swiss population can imagine buying a car with a new drive. "We will certainly not reach this value directly next year, but the trend is going in this direction," summarizes Christoph Wolnik, "especially since 85 percent of those surveyed are of the opinion that new drive technologies can help solve the climate problem."

Figures that are also supported by the TCS e-barometer published in October. To this end, 1001 residents across Switzerland were surveyed. Compared to 2019, the gap between traditional locomotion and electromobility is becoming more pronounced. More residents would like to rely on electric vehicles in the future. Specifically, every tenth person says that they will probably buy an electric car in the next three years. Another 44 percent would like to do the same in four years or later. A majority of those surveyed assume that they will be driving an electric car in the future. The authors of the survey therefore see electromobility on the verge of a breakthrough. The most important reasons for buying an e-vehicle are still considerations relating to climate, sustainability and CO2 emissions.

It is probably also figures like these that make the industry confident despite a miserable 2020, as a survey by the Swiss Auto Industry Association (AGVS) shows among decision-makers in the Swiss automotive industry. More than 60 percent of those surveyed expect the coming year to be “somewhat better” (55.6 percent) or even “much better” (5.6 percent) for their company. When asked about the prospects for the entire industry, almost 67 percent of the decision-makers in the automotive industry expect a slight to marked recovery. The pessimists are clearly outnumbered.

Text: Dino Nodari
Photo: Fotolia

Probability of purchasing an electric car