* NOW UPDATED with actuals for the Top 50 best-selling models: click on title to see! *
Another disappointing month for the Italian car market, down 14% year-on-year in May to 147,426 registrations. This means the 2012 year-to-date total stands at 688,232 units, down 19% on 2011. The Fiat Panda is #1 for the 5th time in a row with 12,817 sales and 8.7%, the nameplate’s highest market share in Italy since the 8.8% it reached in April and May 2009… For higher Panda shares we have to go back to the 1st generation’s very first years in 1981 and 1982 when the model was flirting with 10% of the market – albeit at that time not enough to be in pole position.
Reversely the Fiat Punto falls below 6% share for only the 5th time in the nameplate’s 20 year career, 4 of which have occurred in the last 7 months: its worst ever share was reached in September 2008 (4.7%) followed by March 2012 (5.1%), February 2012 (5.4%), November 2011 (5.7%) and May 2012 (5.8%). The gap between the Panda and the Punto is up to 2.9 percentage points, the highest it’s ever been with September 2008 (Panda at 7.6% vs. Punto at 4.7%).
Let’s remember that if the Panda finishes the year in pole position it will be its first time ever since the nameplate’s original launch in 1980, while it will be the first ever full year that the Punto doesn’t complete at #1 since its launch in 1993. Historical times indeed! With the Fiat 500 back up to #3 with 5,996 sales and 4.1%, Fiat monopolises the podium for the first time since July 2011. The Ford Fiesta (+4), Lancia Ypsilon (-2) and Citroen C3 (-1) follow.
The Alfa Romeo Giulietta manages to stay in an outstanding 7th place this month with 3,474 sales, even leading its category ahead of the VW Golf down to #8. 14 long years after its original launch in 1998, the Smart Fortwo finally breaks into the Italian Top 10 for the first time at #10 with 2,570 units and 1.7%. Other great performers this month include the Renault Megane up 29 spots to #19, the Fiat Freemont up 10 to #20, the Audi Q3 up 7 to a best-ever #26 and by far the best-selling Audi in Italy.
But two models really really shine in May: with its previous best a so-so #50 in May 2011, the Peugeot 508 smashes its record to deliver an exceptional 25th position this month with 1,349 sales and 0.9% share, due in great part to the success of its station wagon variant representing 83% of its sales. The VW Up! for its part breaks into the Italian Top 50 for the very first time to land at #32 with 1,224 units and 0.8%. It will be fascinating to follow its progression over the next few months as the Up! seems to have been designed with the Italian consumer at its core.
Other Italian May 2012 post: Italy Station Wagons May 2012: Peugeot 508 up to #3
One year ago: Italy May 2011: Fiat Panda dominates again
Full May 2012 Top 50 Ranking Table below.