* NOW UPDATED with actuals for the Top 50 brands and Top 230 models – see title *
Originally slated for a 7% growth by UNRAE, 2016 ends on a much higher note, even replicating 2015’s growth rate at +16% to lodge a second consecutive year of double-digit gains at 1.824.968 registrations. This is the highest annual volume since 2010 (1.961.559) and marks an additional 465.000 annual sales in two years. As UNRAE notes, the great health of the Italian car market contrasts with many other durable goods segments, and that’s because it has been lifted by two significant measures throughout the course of the year. Over the first half, manufacturers competed with particularly aggressive commercial actions that led to a boost in private sales. In the second half of the year however, two tax reduction measures by the government, the Superammortamento and New Sabatini, favoured sales to businesses. As a result, looking at the Italian car market by channel in 2016, business sales are by far the most dynamic at +28% to 340.193 units for a 18.4% market share vs. 16.7% a year ago. Rental sales are up 17% (long term +18%, short term +14%) to 366.983 and 19.8% share vs. 19.7% in 2015. Finally private sales, although quite strong at +13% to 1.141.217, see their market share drop from 63.5% last year to 61.8% in 2016, their lowest ever level.
The Fiat Panda has now dominated the Italian sales charts for five consecutive years.
The Top 7 best-selling brands remain unchanged on the 2015 oder, with both leaders Fiat (21.1% share) and Volkswagen (7.6%) gaining 17% year-on-year, a rate only slightly higher than the market. Ford (+14%) lags behind but remains in third place, resisting Renault up a very vigorous 25% to 118.283 sales and 6.5% share, and distancing Opel (+7%), Peugeot (+11%) and Toyota (+9%). Lancia (+17%) takes advantage of Nissan’s drop (-4%) to gain one spot to 38, Mercedes surges 20% to break into the Top 10 at #9, overtaking Audi (+17%) at the last minute to snap the luxury crown. BMW (+20%) also shines in the luxury aisle, while further down Skoda (+28%), Jeep (+35%), Mazda (+48%), Ferrari (+49%), Maserati (+51%), Ssangyong (+59%), Honda (+98%), Jaguar (+198%) and Infiniti (+393%) all deliver spectacular gains. Along with Nissan, Mahindra (-12%) and DS (-20%) are the only other Top 40 manufacturers to see their volumes drop year-on-year.
Italy 2016 – monthly sales by channel:
In the models ranking, the Fiat Panda lodges a fifth consecutive annual win, evolving exactly like the market at +16% to 147.275 sales for an identical 8.1% market share. This is the Panda’s highest annual volume since 2009 (171.887). An indication of the implacable domination of the Panda, it outsells all carmakers bar Fiat, with Volkswagen coming the closest at 139.057. See our Photo Report on driving a Panda in Sardinia here. Unique survivor of the Lancia lineup and logically headed towards the annihilation of the brand (like before it Autobianchi), the Ypsilon has found its place within the Fiat offer as an equally posh but larger Fiat 500. It surprises in 2016 with sales up by a robust 18% to 65.655, comfortably ranking in 2nd position. It also has to thank the demise of the Fiat Punto: -22% to #7. The Fiat 500L (+6%) loses share but accesses the podium at #3, lifted by string sales to rental companies. It is followed by the Renault Clio, the best-selling foreign nameplate for the third year in a row and hitting its highest ever annual ranking in Italy at #4 (also reached in 1992).
The Fiat 500X jumps 42% to break into its home Top 5 with 46.233 sales, distancing the Fiat 500 up just 11% despite a facelift. This means there are five Fiats and six Italian models among the 2016 Top 7 best-sellers. This is the heaviest presence of homemade nameplates inside the Top 7 annual charts in 32 years (since 1984!). The Ford Fiesta (+8%), VW Polo (+19%) and VW Golf (+9%) round up the Top 10. Below the Peugeot 208 (+22%) and Jeep Renegade (+49%), the most popular newcomer in 2016 is the Fiat Tipo, resurrecting a nameplate originally launched in 1988. It lands at #14 for its first full year of sales but peaked at #3 in August – the first time the Tipo nameplate appeared on the Italian podium since 1991 and will be aiming at a Top 10 ranking in 2017, strong with sedan, hatch and station wagon, the latter topping its segment in both November and December. The Hyundai Tucson (#22), VW Tiguan (#31), Renault Kadjar (#32), Audi A4 (#35), Kia Rio (#42) and BMW X1 (#45) also improve spectacularly compared to 2015.
Full Year 2016 Top 50 All-brands and Top 230 models vs. Full Year 2015 figures below.