Car leasing for expats: 6 ways to save You can lease a car in Switzerland and save up to CHF 10,000

Are you moving to Switzerland? Leasing a car might be an option for you. As an expat, car leasing might be a good choice. In this article, Markus Häfeli of shares his expertise on leasing a car as an expat in Switzerland. Here are 6 ways to save up to CHF 10,000 if you decide car leasing is the best choice for you.
I have 14 years of experience working with expats for car rental, leasing and sales.
To help you, I have put together a list of six important things to keep in mind when leasing a car as an expat in Switzerland.  
This should help you find clarity on the topic of one of the daily essentials – your car.        

1. Leasing a car in Switzerland: instalment payments, down payments or no payments 

Find the best deal for your needs
There are a lot of dealers requiring high down-payments or offering you a credit with rates as high as up to 10%!  Find out below, whether it would be best for you to take an option with a high down payment or whether it is better for you to make a lower down payment – or, perhaps even none at all.  
If you are here temporarily: enquire about the possibility of making no or a low down payment 
It is very common for the dealer to ask you for a 10% or 20% down payment. However, if you are on an assignment for three years in Switzerland, and you simply want to lease a car for the length of your stay and then return it to avoid the hassle of reselling it, the best possible option would be for you to be able to lease a car without making any down payment. There are not many dealers offering this plan. However, you should be aware that similar leasing formulas are available. After all, less financial investment equals fewer responsibilities upon departure from Switzerland.

Let the experts handle it for you

Markus Häfeli founded Autociel in 2002.

Markus and his team of auto experts is here to advise you on all matters related to renting, leasing, purchasing or selling cars.

When would it be useful to make a high down payment? 
On the other hand, if you are on a local contract and you prefer to keep the car for a longer time, then it might be worthwhile to make a higher down payment with a low residual value.  This way, you only need to pay a small amount at the end of the contract, and the car is yours. Solutions like this are far less expensive than financing the car with a credit. Receiving credit can be difficult, because in order to be eligible for a credit you have to have lived in Switzerland for over one year. The rates are between 9-10% and on average, for a lease, are around 5%. However, be sure that your dealer is a trustworthy person. Since he is the one who takes out the leasing contract, it is he who is legally bound to the leasing company.  However, he has no obligation to give you the car in the end at all, let alone for the residual value that was agreed upon. 

2. Length & flexibility of the leasing contract and kilometres/year 

Does the dealer offer flexible leasing terms?
If you are not sure if you will stay in Switzerland for three years, then find out if the dealer offers a two-year contract with a possible flexible extension.
Why is it important to consider contract length and mileage?
In general, you can make a leasing contract from 12 to 60 months; 12 months can be the most expensive option. Most of our expat customers go for a 24 or 36 month lease contract, and 20'000 km/year is typically sufficient for most customers. With some dealers you can choose between 10'000km and 30'000km, but be careful with the mileage, it is better to choose a higher mileage option as the additional kilometres are invoiced around CHF 0.50/km. If you do the math, if you drive 10'000km more over 3 years, you have to pay an additional CHF 5'000.

3. What is included in a leasing contract in Switzerland for an individual customer?

Be aware of additional costs such as road tax and services
The leasing contract includes only the cost to lease the car. The yearly cost for insurance and cantonal road taxes are separate, as are the costs for servicing and repairing the car. Full comprehensive leasing contracts may be available for company fleet cars – inquire with your car dealer to find out if this is the case. 

4. Should I lease a used car or a new car?

It is possible, and can be much more affordable, to lease a used car. But if you decide to go for this option – then I recommend that you choose a car that is up to 2 years old, with a maximum mileage of 30,000 kilometres. This option offers the best cost efficiency for both repairs and resale options. Watch out!  If you lease an older car, you are likely to face expensive repair costs. 

5. Do I qualify for a leasing in Switzerland?

Laws and administration can complicate things if you are working with a company that does not specialize in car services for expats.
Plan in advance – before you even make your move to Switzerland, as to whether your chosen car dealer has experience leasing cars to expats. With a company like Autociel, even if you only have a L permit – but you have a valid working contract – you can apply for your leasing and send your B permit to the dealer once you received it.

6. Early termination 

What if I need to leave the country early?
Who knows how long you will stay in Switzerland? If you leave the country, what happens with your leasing contract?  In Switzerland you face up to CHF 10'000 penalty for breaking a leasing contract. In our experience, the official dealers will not offer further help in this kind of scenario – they will simply propose that you face the penalty.
In order to avoid any unpleasant surprises, find out what the consequences would be in case of early termination and whether they can help you find the best solution between the penalty and selling the car for you at an advantageous sales commission.  
Make sure that the dealer will offer you a quality car that is popular on the market, so that in case you do need to leave the country, your car sells quickly and you can save on additional costs. 
I hope that this article has been helpful and can help you avoid possible complications and difficulties. You can avoid many issues if you take your time to work with the right leasing company that really caters to your needs as an expat.  
For more information on a company that offers great quality-cost ratio and flexible leasing options, have a look at You can browse over 30 of the most popular models and others are available on demand.
Author: Markus Häfeli

Markus is an entrepreneur and owns two companies that specialise in catering to the needs of expats in Switzerland. Autociel ( caters to the car needs of expats in Switzerland and includes rental, leasing and sale of quality cars. Markus has worked with expats for over 17 years. He enjoys contact with people from around the world and takes an avid interest in cars, health and fitness. He enjoys spending time with his son.

Take control of your relocation

Free guidance and support lets you take control of your own relocation.

Order extra support easily if you need it.

» Browse our Relocation Store

Featured Partners Thanks to all supporting partners of Hello Switzerland