It’s not like this is some special exclusive of the Swiss, but… boy do the Ticinese love their cars! Since moving here, I got used to see much more often a number of car types that are… not so common in Italy.
Among them are…
Vintage Cars: for a while there’s even been someone who parked in the same spot in front of the mall where we often eat lunch several different vintage, perfectly restored cars. We think this is actually a garage owner advertising his skills and/or catalogue (see: that’s what the pictures in this post are).
Sporty and/or custom cars: there’s a clearly above-than-average presence of cars with custom parts, odd colors, custom wheels and giant spoilers… not to mention, slightly less flashy cars that are still waaay overpowered, especially if you consider how speed limits are actually lower than in Italy, and much more strictly applied. I often refer to a certain kind of car as “hot-wheels-like”. But even more apparently innocent station-wagons often can reveal themselves as Skoda Octavia RSs (a sensible family car that goes to 100Km/h/60Mph in little more than 6 seconds).
4WD and offroaders: Switzerland is very mountainous, and many people live high up in the valleys (where it tends to snow a lot), so… it makes sense. Still, it’s sometimes odd noticing just how many all-wheel-drives cars are around. Not to mention, the venerable Steyr-Puch Pinzgauers! These small vehicles of ’60s Austrian origin can be 4 or 6WD, with small wheels and very low centers of gravity: they are workhorses that people with vineyards built on steep hills like a LOT.
American cars! Yeah, they’re rarer now, but they are still far more common than in Italy! By “American cars” I don’t mean Ford, but the stereotypical US muscle-car, some big pick-up trucks (I saw an Escalade in a mall’s lot and it was almost comically oversized with respect to everything nearby), and (I swear) even an old giant station wagon with wooden panelling on the sides, possibly a Buick? (I think they stopped making them 60 years ago in Italy). It’s less odd than it would sound when you consider how, especially in the past, the Swiss had to import cars anyway (Switzerland is not in Europe, after all), plus there is no national industry to protect.
…and big, pretty pricey cars in general. It is true, after all, that wages are generally way better here: Audis, especially the smaller ones, are everywhere ‘round here. Not that Inner-Swiss (especially the many of Italian origins) sneeze at Alfa Romeos: I see them on the highway, with the Zurich, Bern and Luzerne plates, going down to Italy for the weekend :-D