* Now updated with actuals for the Top 45 All-brands & Top 50 models – see title *
Avanti! Italian new car sales are on a roll in 2016: up another 17% in March to 192.008 registrations, lifting the 1st quarter total up 21% to 524.141 units. March being the biggest month of the year, this means March 2016 is the largest monthly volume in Italy in no less than 6 years. The good news is this spectacular growth is healthy, unlike neighbours France and Spain, with the private sales ratio going up from 57.2% a year ago to 61.5% this month thanks to volumes surging 26% year-on-year. On the other hand, after a very strong first two months of the year, sales to rental companies are down 2% in March. The first quarter figures show private sales up a whopping 30% to 63% share, up 4 percentage points on the same period last year, whereas rental sales are up just 9% to 23.1% share, down 2.6 pp.
Brand-wise, Fiat once again beats its home market thanks to a smart rationalisation of its lineup with sales up 22% to 41.926 and 24.3% share vs. 20.9% year-to-date. Volkswagen (+21%) is back in 2nd place, but just, at 14.281 sales vs. 14.087 for Ford (+26%) while below, Renault (+31%) is catching up, followed by Peugeot (+15%) and Opel (-3%) both underperforming. Lancia (+30%), Jeep (+29^%), Honda (+118%), Mazda (+48%) and Lexus (+72%) shoot up while Ssangyong (+148%), Infiniti (+243%) and Jaguar (+401%) pull the largest overall year-on-year gains in the market this month.
In the models ranking, the Fiat Panda follows the market at +17% to 15.866 sales and 8.3% share, with the Lancia Ypsilon in tow at 7.124, up a fantastic 32%. For the second month in a row – and ever, the entire Fiat 500 family fits within the Top 5 best-sellers: the 500 is up 39% to #3, the 500X up 171% to #4 and the 500L down 23% to #5, adding up to 18.211 sales and a record 9.5% market share, markedly above the Panda. The 500 family now also fits within the year-to-date Top 5 for the first time in Italy. Meanwhile the Punto is down to #10 so far in 2016 vs. #2 in 2015, but the all-new Tipo is up a further 2 spots to #22 thanks to 2.327 sales, the highest monthly total since the nameplate’s relaunch last November. Other great performers this month include the Jeep Renegade at #12 (+44%), the Peugeot 2008 (+38%), Peugeot 308 (+43%), Citroen C3 (+40%), Ford Focus (+52%), Audi A4 (+108%) and Ford Ecosport (+100%).
One year ago: Italy March 2015: Fiat 500X now inside Top 20
Full March 2016 Top 45 All-brands and Top 50 models below.