Expat blog background

Expats new to Switzerland face all kinds of challenges. One of them is finding the right form of mobility. Once the decision has been made to buy a car, the question arises as to whether it should be bought, leased, rented or subscribed to. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, but car subscriptions have become more popular among expats in Switzerland in recent years. Read all about it in the blog.


The cost of your car usually depends on how long you will be using it. Basically, the total costs must be calculated and compared over the entire duration.

With a car subscription, the total costs for the car are usually the lowest, even though the monthly costs seem high at first glance. This is because the fixed monthly price already includes all costs for insurance, tyres, services and maintenance, as well as registration and taxes. With a car subscription, only additional costs for charging or refuelling have to be taken into account. This is why the subscription is the simplest and most affordable option for expats in Switzerland in most cases.

Compared to a car subscription, monthly rates tend to be lower with leasing. However, it is important to note that leasing rates usually only cover the use of the car. Costs for maintenance, insurance and other expenses are additional. In the case of a lease, a down payment is also usually due in advance.

The purchase of a car requires considerable acquisition costs. In addition, the owner bears the responsibility for maintenance and repair costs. For expats in Switzerland, buying a new car can be very expensive as upfront costs such as a deposit, taxes and registration fees have to be paid, which may not be ideal for short-term stays abroad. In addition, the resale risk must be borne, which can involve losses.

The cost of renting a car can be enormous in the long run. Rental costs add up quickly, especially with prolonged use. Daily or weekly rental rates are often relatively high compared to other options.

The choice ultimately depends on your budget and long-term plans. It is important to keep an eye on the total costs and fees to find the option that best suits you.

By the way, you can find out here why it's not a good idea and what you need to bear in mind if you live in Switzerland and continue driving with your foreign number plate.


The most flexible of these options is the car subscription. It usually has shorter durations (a few months to several years) and allows you to change vehicles easily or return the car without any problems.

Leasing contracts often require longer durations that may not coincide with your stay in Switzerland of a few months.

Full ownership at the time of purchase gives you the freedom to keep the vehicle for as long as you like and modify it to your liking. Returning or reselling the vehicle is more complicated.

Renting a vehicle is ideal for immediate transport and mobility needs, but is not suitable for long-term rentals.


With a car subscription, you don't own the car, which means you don't have to deal with depreciation or sales issues.

It is the same with leasing. You don't own the car, but you are responsible for keeping up with the maintenance agreement.

Buying a car gives you full ownership, so you can keep the car for as long as you like, modify it and build up equity if necessary.

Renting does not give you ownership of the car or the opportunity to modify it or build up equity.

Suitability for you as an expat in Switzerland

For you as an expat in Switzerland, the car subscription makes sense if you plan to stay for at least a few months. It offers you the necessary flexibility as well as an inexpensive means of mobility.

Leasing can work for you for longer stays. However, the distribution of costs is more difficult to calculate due to down payment and depending on additional services, as these are incurred at different times.

Buying a car may not be the best choice as an expat in Switzerland with short-term plans, as it involves significant initial costs and long-term commitments.

For immediate mobility & transport needs, renting is a practical solution. However, this may not be cost-effective for you if you are staying in Switzerland for longer.


Choosing the right way to use a car as an expat in Switzerland depends on your specific circumstances and the length of your stay. While buying, leasing and renting have their merits, car subscriptions are gaining popularity among expats staying in Switzerland for at least a few months. They offer a hassle-free way to enjoy the benefits of a car without making a long-term commitment or worrying about ownership-related issues, making them an attractive choice for you as an expat in Switzerland. Ultimately, the decision should fit your unique situation and the length of your stay in this beautiful country.

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