Lest you think that the Swiss have no interest in automobiles and would rather content themselves with watches, cheese, finance and Toblerone then think again. Swiss cars - at least while they were being produced - were designed to be sleek, impressive and certainly unique. The fact is that the Swiss auto industry peaked in the early 1970's and pretty much disappeared without a trace. Although the "industry" has since devoted its efforts more to auto component parts and auto accessories like floor carpet than it does vehicle prototypes takes nothing away from the Swiss auto heyday.
For almost 20 years, Switzerland was home to one of the world's most dynamic, exotic and free-spending car companies: Monteverdi. Monteverdi was a company which once aspired to become the Swiss Ferrari, but in actual Swiss auto production terms, the Monteverdi was embarrassingly small and poorly managed. The late founder Peter Monteverdi was arguably more impressed with substance and not quality.
For awhile though, the Monteverdi ranked right up there with Swiss watches in terms of image and target audience. The Monteverdi was an exotic luxury car in every sense of the word and as such geared for the super-rich. But was it a sport scar or a sedan? The gas and energy crisis of the mid-1970's put a hamper on sales and profits, so the company changed gears (no pun intended) and the Monteverdi Safari was the result (its template was the bulky Harvester Scout) but even this did not outlast the evolving taste of luxury cars. Although its Middle East customer-base of rich oil sheiks did sustain the line for some time.
The success of the Monteverdi and its brethren sputtered to a stop in the early 1990's. The Monteverdi wasn't even the only Swiss automobile. the Enzmann and Sbarro were also fighting for a small piece of the Swiss Auto supremacy anad they failed as well.
Past and Present
These days there really is no such thing as a Swiss car. Sure one could single out the Smart car, although technically the Smart is Swiss-owned, it's not manufactured in Switzerland.
Switzerland's auto-industrial segment produces a variety of auto components and auto-manufacturing machines to the entire European automotive industry and that is something to be proud of.
So in a sense, Swiss cars continue to exist, if only in the memories of car enthusiasts.