Small importers require a certificate confirming that the necessary documentation (Form 13.20 A, Certificate of Conformity) has been submitted to FEDRO and any applicable penalty has been paid. Confirmation takes the form of a stamp on the verification report (13.20 A). The application form for registration with FEDRO can be obtained by clicking on the following link:
In the case of cars without a Swiss type approval (i.e. vehicles with type certificate "X"), importers have to submit Form 13.20 A and a CO2 emissions certificate (e.g. COC) to FEDRO before registering the vehicle. FEDRO will check the CO2 emissions and if a penalty applies it will issue an invoice (small importer) or allocate the vehicle to a specific large-scale importer. The application form for registering with FEDRO is available from the following website:
If an importer registers at least 50 new cars in a given year, the company is automatically classified as a large-scale importer in the next reference year. Here, all cars are considered which are subject to the provisions of the CO2 Ordinance and can be allocated to the GI account of the importer concerned on the basis of the type approval or attestation by FEDRO.
If a large-scale importer does not register the required 50 cars within a given reference year, the company nonetheless has to submit a calculation of the average value of the fleet, but will be classified as a small importer in the following year. The importer concerned may, however, apply for classification again as a provisional large-scale importer.
Provisional large-scale importer
All entities that are not automatically classified as large-scale importers (see above) can register with the SFOE as a provisional large-scale importer by completing the corresponding application form. Registration as a provisional large-scale importer may be submitted at any time. If an importer submits the application form for classification as a large-scale importer during the year for the current reference year, only those vehicles in that importer’s fleet are included in the calculation that are subject to the provisions of the CO2 Ordinance and were registered after the approval of the application by the SFOE. Cars that were registered prior to the approval of the application by the SFOE will be included individually in the calculation by FEDRO.
In the event that, at the end of a reference year, fewer than 50 cars (in accordance with the emission regulations specified in the CO2 Ordinance) have been allocated to the account of a provisional large-scale importer, in its capacity as a small importer the importer is required to subsequently submit a calculation for each car registered during the reference year.
Provisional large-scale importers who register the specified minimum number of vehicles, regardless of when they registered with the SFOE, will automatically be classified as large-scale importers in the following year and therefore do not need to submit an application for classification as a provisional large-scale importer (see above).
An emissions pool is a group of importers that is formed for a maximum period of five years in order to jointly achieve the specified CO2 target.
All importers (large-scale, small and private) may form an emissions pool if they jointly import at least 50 new cars per annum and put them into circulation in Switzerland.
An emissions pool has the same rights and obligations as an individual large-scale importer.
The application form for emissions pools must be submitted to the SFOE by the end of November in the year prior to the reference year. Applications submitted in the course of the reference year can only be considered for the following year.
Like the EU, Switzerland introduced CO2 emission regulations for new passenger cars in 2012. These regulations oblige Swiss importers to reduce the level of CO2 emissions from cars registered for the first time in Switzerland to an average of 130 grams per kilometre and by the end of 2020 to an average of 95 grams per kilometre. All importers are required to meet a specific CO2 target for their new vehicle fleet (or in the case of small or private importers, the vehicle-specific target). This target is influenced by the vehicle mass. With effect from 1 July 2012 a penalty applies if the CO2 emissions per kilometre exceed the specified target.
In its new CO2 Act, Switzerland undertakes a commitment to reduce its CO2 emissions by 20 percent versus the 1990 level by 2020. In Switzerland, road traffic is responsible for a significant proportion of CO2 emissions, and therefore the reduction potential is particularly high in the area of passenger cars. In Switzerland, the level of specific CO2 emissions from new cars is well above the European average.
The term "car" (or "passenger car") is defined in accordance with Article 11, paragraph 2a of the Ordinance on Technical Requirements for Road Vehicles. Since 15 January 2017, the above provisions now also apply to vehicles with a maximum design speed below 50 km/h. In addition, special-purpose vehicles (e.g. armoured vehicles, vehicles with approved space for transporting wheelchairs, mobile homes) are excluded from the Ordinance.
In accordance with the CO2 Act, the term “initial registration” refers to the registration of cars that have been approved for the first time for use in Switzerland. The regulations do not apply to vehicles that were previously registered in Switzerland, nor to cars that have been approved abroad more than six months before their customs declaration in Switzerland. In the case of vehicles previously registered abroad, only a standard registration with accompanying certificate is acceptable. Temporary and daily registration, and registration with customs licence plates, are not classified as standard registration. Registration abroad must be made in the name of a natural person or legal entity with residence or domicile in the country concerned. Vehicles registered in the Principality of Liechtenstein have the same status as vehicles registered in Switzerland.
Article 10 of the CO2 Act calls for the adaptation of the CO2 targets for cars and the introduction of new targets for utility vehicles and light semi-trailers. The involved measures take account of the applicable regulations in the EU which were introduced at the beginning of 2014. As of 2020, in the case of cars the target of 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre will be adopted, and for utility vehicles and light semi-trailers the target will be 147 grams of CO2 per kilometre. To ease this adaptation, certain introductory measures are foreseen, including phasing-in and super credits.
Because no binding targets apply for utility vehicles and light semi-trailers prior to 2020, all the provisions cited in chapter 3 of the CO2 Ordinance will only become applicable for these vehicle categories as of 2020.
The CO2 regulations apply to importers of new cars. Here a distinction is made between small and large-scale importers:
Large-scale importers (at least 50 cars)
Companies that import at least 50 new cars a year that are registered for use in Switzerland are classified as large-scale importers. If the average CO2 emissions of a large-scale importer’s passenger car fleet exceed the individually specified target, the importer has to pay a penalty for each vehicle initially registered in the calendar year concerned.
Importers are classified as large-scale importers in a reference year if:
In the calendar year prior to the reference year they have registered at least 50 new passenger cars (here the determining criterion is registration in accordance with a type approval holder code)
They are registered with the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) as a provisional large-scale importer or as an emissions pool. Registration has to be made using the appropriate form.
Private/small importers (less than 50 cars)
Companies that import fewer than 50 new cars a year which are registered for use in Switzerland are classified as small importers. This includes private individuals who import their new car themselves and register it for use in Switzerland (private importers).
For small importers, the target is specified separately for each car. In the event that the target is exceeded, they have to pay the corresponding penalty before the vehicle is registered. For this purpose they have to submit the relevant documents (in particular Form 13.20 A, "Application for Certification" and the Certificate of Conformity COC) to the Swiss Federal Roads Office (FEDRO) by post.
Here a distinction has to be made between two cases:
If the person who is entitled to privileges or immunities purchases the vehicle from an importer/reseller (large-scale or small importer), the importer has to pay any penalty that may be applicable. The importer is at liberty to add the amount of the penalty to the final purchase price.
If the vehicle is imported on behalf of a person who is entitled to privileges or immunities (either by the person himself/herself or by an intermediary acting on his/her behalf), the person concerned is classified as the importer. Since the latter enjoys immunity from administrative jurisdiction, it is not possible to enforce any penalty that may be applicable. By way of exception, an exemption from payment of a penalty therefore applies for the import of a vehicle into Switzerland on behalf of a person who is entitled to privileges or immunities.
In accordance with Article 11 of the Federal CO2 Act, for each importer or manufacturer the Federal Council specifies a calculation method for an individual target for cars imported into or manufactured in Switzerland. The calculation is based on the cars of the importer or manufacturer (vehicle fleet) initially put into circulation in the respective year. This means that, with respect to the CO2 emissions for cars, it is the initial importer or manufacturer who is responsible and entitled, and not a third party who may register the car in Switzerland at a later date. Here it should be noted that when the action that is of relevance to the allocation of the car actually takes place (import or manufacture), the corresponding legal consequences (cars belong to the importer’s fleet) enter into effect. A repeat of this action cannot trigger the same legal consequences a second time.
Each quarter, the SFOE provides large-scale importers with a list of cars initially registered up to 31 March, 30 June and 30 September respectively of the current reference year, together with the corresponding target and the relevant CO2 emissions. If the SFOE is of the opinion that the payment of a penalty after expiry of the reference year could be at risk, it may request quarterly downpayments. In the spring of the following year, large-scale importers will then receive a definitive invoice for all passenger cars registered during the reference year.
Invoices will be prepared by the SFOE based on the data provided by the Swiss Federal Roads Office (FEDRO).
Small importers (prior to registration)
Small importers are required to pay FEDRO any penalty that may be applicable before the vehicle is registered by the cantonal road traffic authority.
In the EU the new WLTP measurement procedure was introduced in September 2017. In the same way as in the EU, a transitional period for the enforcement of the CO2 emission regulations will apply until the end of 2020. During this period the targets (130 grams of CO2 per kilometre, or as of 2020, 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre) and individual targets will continue to be NECD-based. As before, NECD-based CO2 levels will also apply for measuring emissions from motor vehicles (either physically measured or converted from the WLTP to the corresponding NECD level). Until then, both the NECD and the WLTP levels will be indicated in the European type approval procedure.
In accordance with a special EU regulation (“de-minimis clause”), manufacturers who register fewer than 1,000 passenger cars a year in the European Union may subsequently benefit from exemption from meeting the EU targets. This clause was deliberately not introduced in Switzerland because other options exist here that do not apply in the EU. Brands that qualify for exemption in the EU and for which no special targets have been specified are therefore subject to calculation based on the average target of 130 grams CO2 per kilometre.
In the case of large-scale importers the relevant CO2 emissions are calculated as a fleet average, while for small importers it is the figure for the individual vehicle that is relevant.
The term "relevant CO2 emissions" refers to the CO2 emissions that are registered in the type approval. However, importers may also certify the relevant CO2 emissions using a Certificate of Conformity (COC).
Other recognised CO2 emission certificates are listed in Article 25 of the Ordinance on the Reduction of CO2 Emissions.
In the following cases the level of relevant CO2 emissions is reduced:
Gas-fuelled vehicles (–10 percent for the proportion of biogas)
Innovative technologies (ecological innovations recognised by the EU)
Importers have to certify the reduction using a Certificate of Conformity (COC).
The unladen weight that is applicable for the calculation of the CO2 target level is the weight cited in the type approval. For vehicles without type approval, the unladen weight is based on the data in the Certificate of Conformity: here it is the actual mass of the vehicle (position 13.2) that is applicable (if known), otherwise it is the mass in running order (position 13). For vehicles without type approval, without a Certificate of Conformity and for which the CO2 emissions are calculated in accordance with Appendix 4 of the CO2 Ordinance, a weight certificate has to be submitted that has been issued by a calibrated weighing machine. The vehicle identification number (VIN) of the car to be tested has to be indicated on the weight certificate.
* Up to and including the reference year (2017), the amount is rounded up/down to the nearest full gram of CO2 per kilometre. From the reference year (2018) onwards, the penalty is rounded up/down to the nearest tenth of a gram of CO2 per kilometre.
** Until the end of 2018, reduced penalties apply to the first three grams of excess emission.
For reference year 2017 the following penalties apply:
Until the end of 2018, reduced rates will apply for the first three grams above the specified target. The following amounts apply per vehicle for reference year 2018:
Grams above specified target level
Amount (in Swiss francs)
Fourth and every additional gram
As of 1 January 2019, the reduced figures for the first three grams will no longer apply, and the manufacturer or importer will have to pay the federal government between 95.00 and 152.00 Swiss francs for each gram above the individual specified target. The amounts will be redefined for each year.
For the calculation of penalties it is the date of registration that is of relevance. If a vehicle is initially registered in Switzerland between 1 January and 31 December of a given reference year, it is included in the calculation for that year.
For small importers it is the date of the invoice issued by the Swiss Federal Roads Office (FEDRO) that is of relevance for the calculation of penalties.
Any importer (regardless of size) of passenger cars has the option of assigning an imported vehicle to another importer for the purpose of calculation of the CO2 penalty. Each assignment has to be reported to the Federal Roads Office (FEDRO) prior to the initial registration of the vehicle in Switzerland. An assignment made after the initial registration of the vehicle in Switzerland will not be accepted. To assign a vehicle, the importer concerned is required to use the corresponding application form ("Antrag auf Bescheinigung" – "Abtretung" section framed in red) on the FEDRO website (available in German, French and Italian).
Small manufacturers who register fewer than 10,000 new cars a year in the European Union (EU), and niche manufacturers who register between 10,000 and 300,000 new cars a year, can apply for a special target in the EU, which has to be approved by the European Commission. The Swiss regulations stipulate that the targets for small and niche manufacturers have to be taken into account for large-scale and small importers.
Large-scale importers who import brands from small and niche manufacturers and want the respective special targets to apply to these brands in a reference year are required to notify the SFOE prior to the initial registration of any desired vehicle in that year. For the method of calculation of separate new car fleets, as a large-scale importer via the fleet or as a small importer by individual vehicle, in addition to importer status it is the total number of the importer’s registered new cars that is of relevance, regardless of the number in the individual new car fleets. This means that, for large-scale importers, the calculation method is in any case the same for every new car fleet.