Car leasing in Switzerland

Car leasing in Switzerland

Switzerland is a small country that is well-connected by public transport, but for many people the ease and convenience of driving their own car is unbeatable. If you don’t want to buy your own car here, car leasing is a good way of getting your own set of wheels. 

Best car leasing deals in Switzerland

To find the best car leasing deals in Switzerland, it’s worth checking out what’s on offer and comparing the rates of different companies. 

When comparing different lease contracts you should consider not only the monthly premium, but also what’s included, any additional costs, the types of vehicles available, and the level of customer service. 

Leasing calculator

Wondering exactly how much it costs to lease a car and whether the payments would be affordable on your salary alongside your other outgoings? Companies like Comparis and offer a leasing calculator to help you work out the cost of leasing a car. 

Many companies allow you to change details such as the down payment amount, the contract duration, and the annual mileage allowance in order to get your desired monthly price. 

Car subscription in Switzerland

If you only need a car for a short period of time - for instance, if you’re only temporarily in Switzerland - and don’t want to get locked into a lengthy contract, a car subscription might be a more sensible choice for you than a lease. A subscription is similar to a long-term rental and offers much greater flexibility. You can even switch cars.

For subscription deals tailored to the needs of expats and internationals, Carify is a leasing company that provides comprehensive services to customers across Switzerland.

Zurich car leasing

Searching for a car lease in Zurich? Many companies offer car leases in the biggest city in Switzerland

What is leasing?

Car leasing is an arrangement where you pay a fixed monthly amount to drive a new (or sometimes used) car for a set period of time. At the end of the lease you normally give the car back to the leasing company, although you may be given the option of buying it. Leasing is a very popular way to get a car in Switzerland, with an estimated 50 percent of all new cars on Swiss roads now leased. 

Benefits of car leasing

Car leasing offers a number of advantages, some of which are particularly relevant to expats:

More affordable way of having a car

Buying a car outright is a significant financial outlay. Instead of having to save up thousands of Swiss francs, leasing allows you to drive a car for a fixed and affordable monthly payment. Some leasing companies even offer leases with 0 percent down payments. 

No need to sell when leaving Switzerland

When your lease term is up, you can simply hand the car back to the leasing company, so you don’t need to stress about selling your car (or exporting the vehicle) if you decide to leave Switzerland. 

It can be cheaper 

In the short term, leasing can be cheaper than buying a car outright. In the long term, however, it is a more expensive option, so it is worth weighing up the two options. Compared to the cost of public transport, leasing can be cheaper if you travel regularly, for instance, if you commute long distances to work. It’s also cheaper than a long-term car rental. 

Adapts to your life

A car lease is flexible enough to adapt to your life as your situation and needs change. You might want a sporty convertible now but in two years’ time, as your family grows, you might need something more like a people carrier. Leasing gives you the flexibility to do this. 

Drawbacks of a car lease

There are also some downsides to a car lease that you should consider:

Tied into financial obligation

Leasing involves signing a financial agreement that can last anything up to a few years. Depending on the policy of the company you lease from, it may be expensive or even impossible to end your lease contract early, as usually this incurs penalty fees. This is worth considering if you are only remaining in Switzerland for a short period of time. 

Credit check required

Since a car lease is a long-term financial commitment, all leasing companies will want to assess your creditworthiness before approving your application. If you have any debts or a bad credit score, it may be tricky to get a car lease in Switzerland. 


Since a lease is not the same as owning a car, you are not building up any equity in the vehicle during your lease term. 

Kilometre allowance

Many car leases in Switzerland include a kilometre allowance (sometimes in the contract fine print). If you exceed this allowance, you may be charged a penalty. However, the extra mileage fee is usually waived if you decide to buy the car at the end of your lease period. 

Contract restrictions

As well as a mileage allowance, your lease contract might contain other clauses that restrict your usage of the car. For instance, sometimes you are not permitted to drive a leased car abroad. 

Leasing a car vs buying

Your personal situation will determine whether leasing a car or buying one is the right choice for you. If you have a good amount of savings or are willing to buy a car on finance, in the long term it will probably work out cheaper. However, if you don’t want to make a large payment upfront, leasing gives you the option to drive a vehicle for a manageable monthly payment, which may be more convenient in the short term. 

Types of car lease in Switzerland

There are a few different types of car leases in Switzerland. These are all terms you might come across:

Term leasing

These are the most basic types of lease contracts, usually running between 12 months and four years. The longer the contract, the lower the monthly rate. 

Kilometre leasing

With kilometre leasing, your monthly rate is calculated based on the mileage you expect to do. If you expect to drive the car a lot, you can expect to pay more each month. At the end of the contract, your estimated mileage will be compared with your actual mileage; if you have exceeded the estimate, you will have to pay extra. 

Residual value leasing

Residual value leasing calculates your monthly rate based on what the car will be worth at the end of the lease period (the “residual value”). For some contracts, if the car is worth less than the estimate at the end of the lease period (if you cause damage or simply fall foul of market conditions, for instance), you might have to pay the difference. On the other hand, if it is worth more, you might be due some money back. 

Private lease and business car lease

You can lease a car as a private individual or for a business. Businesses often lease cars for employees as it is a simpler arrangement for them. If you are self-employed or have started your own business, you could consider leasing a car as a company car. 

How does car leasing work in Switzerland?

Car leasing is a relatively simple process in Switzerland. Here’s an overview of the main criteria you’ll have to fulfil, and how car lease contracts work. 

What do you need to lease a car in Switzerland?

In order to be eligible for a lease in Switzerland, you must meet the following criteria: 

Documents needed for car leasing in Switzerland

During the lease sign-up process, you will most likely be asked to provide the following documents:

  • ID (such as a passport)
  • Residence permit (if you are not Swiss)
  • Payslips or statements from your bank account from the last three months

If you have a foreign driving licence and plan on staying in Switzerland for more than one year, you will need to exchange it for a Swiss licence in order to be able to drive. Some countries have licence exchange agreements with Switzerland, but if this doesn’t apply to you, you may be required to sit the theory and practical driving tests

Car lease: Contract length

Car lease contracts in Switzerland are offered for anywhere from 12 months to four years. Generally, it is you as the lessee who can choose how long you want the lease to last. The longer the contract, the lower your monthly payments. Early termination is possible, but it can be expensive, as most lease companies will charge a fee for this. 

Is it possible to transfer a lease?

Instead of paying hefty early exit fees, it is sometimes possible to transfer a lease from one lessee to a new one for the remainder of the contract - so either you take over someone else’s current lease, or you transfer your lease to another person. However, not all leasing companies allow this, so it’s best to check before making any arrangements. is a listings site where private individuals looking for someone to take over their car lease can connect with people looking for short-term leases.  

What happens when the car lease ends?

When the lease term ends, you give the car back to the leasing company and they will inspect the condition of the car. If your contract included a kilometre allowance, they will also check the mileage. If damage has been done to the car - even small scratches - you might be charged, and you will be charged if your mileage exceeds your kilometre allowance. 

If you want a new car, you can take out a new lease agreement. If you want to keep the car you can either buy it or extend your lease. Check with your leasing company to see if this is possible in your situation.

Most contractors will allow you to extend your lease by drawing up what is called a follow-up lease agreement. The rate will generally be a lot cheaper for a second term - as the car loses value during the duration of the original lease - but on the other hand, other costs such as maintenance are likely to rise once your car is out of warranty. 

If you choose to buy the car at the end of your lease, you usually pay the residual value - which is not always the same as the actual market value of the car. It’s therefore always worth checking the car’s market value to ensure that you are not overpaying. 

How much does leasing a car cost?

The cost of leasing a car is calculated quite simply in Switzerland: as a rule of thumb, it is the current market value of the car minus the residual value (the expected value of the car when the lease term ends), divided into monthly instalments. Cars are expected to lose approximately 20 percent of their value each year. Other factors that influence the cost include the length of the contract, the down payment amount, the interest rate, and the mileage allowance. 

You will usually be expected to pay a down payment at the start of your contract, which can be up to 15 percent of the price of the car. Some companies do offer leasing arrangements without asking for down payments, but in this situation, your monthly instalment will be higher. 

When selecting a lease deal, it’s important to always pay attention to the small print on your contract, as this could include (sometimes major) hidden costs that land you with a huge bill at the end of your lease term. Carefully consider what is and isn’t included in your leasing rate.

Leasing in Switzerland: Costs that are included

In Switzerland, the leasing cost includes only the cost of the car itself (and most leasing companies will also register the vehicle for you, but it's worth double-checking this). On top of your monthly instalments, you need to factor in a number of additional payments, including:

As long as the repair is not covered by the manufacturer or dealer’s warranty, you need to pay for the repair of a leased vehicle yourself. Some leasing companies also specify that you must have the vehicle repaired at an authorised or partner garage. If the damage is caused by an accident, your comprehensive insurance will cover it, but you will usually have to pay a deductible. 

All-inclusive leasing

Some companies offer all-inclusive leasing for an additional cost. This means that more costs are covered, depending on your package, including service and maintenance, tyre changes, insurance, vehicle taxes, guarantees, and vignettes. 

You will, however, always have to cover the additional costs associated with owning and driving a car, including fuel, traffic fines, parking fees and car wash visits. 

Used car leasing in Switzerland

If leasing a brand-new car is a little bit out of your price range, it’s also possible to lease a used car. Used car leasing is growing in popularity in Switzerland, simply because it is generally much cheaper than leasing a brand-new car. 

Pros of a used car lease

There are some major advantages to leasing a used car rather than a brand-new one:

  • Availability: Rather than waiting for the manufacturer to deliver, you can usually get your hands on your car within just a few weeks. 
  • Flexibility: Leasing companies typically offer shorter contracts on used vehicles.
  • Budget: It’s generally cheaper to lease a second-hand car than a new one. 

Cons of leasing used cars

However, there are also some downsides to leasing a used car that you should take into account:

  • Age and look: Rather than being able to choose the exact car you want, with used car leasing you are more limited by what’s available. 
  • Higher monthly premium: Since used cars generally come with shorter contracts, your monthly premium might be higher. 
  • Signs of use: Although the second-hand car will have been given a thorough check-over by the leasing company, it might still show some minor wear and tear. 

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