* See the Top 160 best-selling models and Top 45 All-brands by clicking on the title *
The Italian new car market continues to stabilise in December, up 3% year-on-year to 92,920 registrations which brings the final 2014 total to 1,370,952 units, up 5% on the hellish year that was 2013. Fiat recedes by 2% and drops below 20% share at 19.2%, ahead of Volkswagen (-4%) while Renault takes off with sales up a fantastic 28% to third place and 6.5% share. In the top 10, Peugeot (+11%), Toyota (+12%) and Hyundai (+14%) also shine. Further down, Dacia (+32%), Smart (+82%), Skoda (+38%) and Seat (+44%) impress.
But the real big event of the month in Italy is Jeep increasing its sales fivefold year-on-year to #15 with 2,308 units and 2.5% share, single-handedly lifted by the new Renegade, up 15 spots on an already incredible November score to break into the Italian Top 10 at #10 with 1,806 sales and 1.9%. This performance breaks so many records it’s hard to know where to start. Firstly, it demonstrates that Italian car buyers have now well and truly realised that Jeep is owned by Fiat and therefore Italian by adoption. This is a crucial mindset change as it means there may not be any need to rebrand Chrysler models to Fiat to make them successful here anymore (see the Fiat Freemont, a rebadged Dodge Journey).
Indeed, never before had a Jeep ranked inside the Italian Top 50, and the Renegade is now storming in amongst the country’s 10 most popular nameplates. It also surfs on the compact SUV wave that has gripped Italy, but it’s like the Renegade has instantly become the surf coach, with the Nissan Qashqai (#14), Opel Mokka (#15), Renault Captur (#16), Dacia Duster (#17), Peugeot 2008 (#18) and Mini Countryman (#23) standing back to watch. It is very hard to forecast how high the Renegade can go as this is the first time a ‘homemade’ small SUV hits Italian shores. Amazingly, the Jeep Renegade also outsells the Fiat 500 this month, and the big question mark now is how the Renegade’s early success will impact the career of its twin the Fiat 500X. On paper the 500X should be far more successful at home, but the Renegade could benefit from the first entrant’s advantage and keep the lead at least over the next 6 months.
In other news, the Renault Clio reclaims the title of best-selling foreigner in December at #4, the Hyundai i10 shines at #20, the Smart Fortwo is boosted by its new generation back up 20 spots on October to #22, its 4-door companion the Smart Forfour storms into the Top 30, up 65 ranks on last month to #28, the Mini remains #38 and both the Mercedes GLA (#43) and the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer (#47) break into the Italian Top 50 for the first time.
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Full December 2014 Top 160 models and Top 45 All-brands below.