Monday, October 05, 2015

Costs of having a car in Switzerland

(Montiverdi Berlinetta)

01 Depreciation
This is the big one.  Both figuratively and literally.   The first gotcha is that Swiss motor dealers have no idea about the word /discount/.  After all why should they with all those rich people around, a wait time from order of at least three months, and what seems like an 'artificially' constrained supply.   

Next Swiss drivers love new cars thus depressing the second hand car market.  Expect to lose 15% in the first year and thereafter 10%, just as a guide.

Oh, wait, a tiny sliver of good news!  Each year you must pay tax on all your bought assets,  So each year your tax bill will include tax on the remaining equity value in your car.  So at least the tax paid on that, each year, will be smaller, since your car will be worth less, a lot less than new.

02 Car Tax

A yearly car tax is levied based on the maximum allowed weight  (not regular weight) of the vehicle and its KW engine output.  A discount of .75 if the CO2 is < 120g/km

Here is the formula

CHF 0.15 per kg to 2000 kg and CHF 0.30 for each additional kg and
CHF 2 per kW to 100 kW and CHF 3 for each additional kW.

Taxation based on the maximum allowable weight is of 
course really offensive since cars with a large load capacity 
are penalised.  We end up paying about 1000 CHF i.e. 700 GBP.

03 Insurance
With maximum discounts for no accidents, elderly drivers  (Marcus), and no fancy extras like legal protection, and shopping around on the excellent Comparis  we have the cost of modest Audi down to about 1800 CHF (1200 GBP) per year.  

Swiss base the insurance on the new cost of the car, not the actual resale value, so year on year your car insurance cost will not go down.  Yes, annoying

04 Motorway Tax

You pay a yearly 40CHF charge to gain a non transferable sticker that attaches to your car to give you the right to drive on Swiss motorways.   To us it's a bargain.  Switzerland has no tolls and a quick trip to France has us cursing them expensive French autoroutes.

05 Expertise Inspection

At import and then after 4 years you must take your car to Service des Automobiles for a detailed inspection.  A lot of details are checked, including the infamous cleanliness of the engine bay.

06 Manufacturers Service

Buyer frown if the car is not Manufactuer serviced leading to ludicrously high car servicing bills. For just changing the oil and /having a look/ at the car we can expect to pay over 600 CHF  (ie. 400 GBP) per year.

Tell me the good news

- Swiss drivers are very polite and law abiding, at least in the canton Vaud where we live.  This significantly reduces the risk of a Car accident or road rage, and makes driving a much more pleasurable experience

- Most Car insurance companies allow multi vehicle policies whereby multiple car's are insured against a single number plate.  Then you pay the insurance only for the most expensive vehicle, and a few francs admin charge for each other vehicle.  To be clear this allows you to drive only one of the vehicles in such a policy at a time, hence the single set of plates.