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Italy February 2018: VW up 20%, Fiat (-17%) and Lancia (-42%) sink

Fiat Tipo sales are up 39% but Fiat as a whole drops 17% at home in February. Picture

* See the Top 45 brands and Top 50 models by clicking on the title *

The Italian new car market marks a pause in February with sales down 1.4% to 183.147, the first year-on-year decline in the country since April 2017, yet the YTD volume remains in positive at +1.1% to 362.735. But the picture would have been much worse without the efforts, again, of rental and company sales. Rental deliveries surges 18.9% to 54.216 or 29.6% share vs. 24.6% a year ago with short-term rentals up 15.1% to 26.283 and long-term/leases up 22.7% to 27.933. Company sales gain 7.8% to 36.501 or 19.9% share vs. 18.2% in February 2017 but for private sales, it’s a hell month: down an abysmal 13% to 92.430 units or 50.5% share vs. 57.2% a year ago. Year-to-date, private sales are down 9.5% to 194.888 (53.7% share vs. 60% in 2017), rental sales are up 17.4% to 95.137 (26.2% vs. 22.6%) and company sales up 16.1% to 72.710 (20% vs. 17.4%). Once again diesel sales resist better than petrol at -0.9% to 103.177 and 56.3% share with petrol sales down 5.4% to 58.459 and 31.9% share. Gpl sales are down 10.1% two 10.484, methane sales up 62.6% to 4.287, hybrid sales are up 18.6% to 6.249, plug-in hybrids up 65.5% to 245 and electric sales up 105% to 246. In terms of body types, sedans/hatches tumble down 12.4% to 89.070 units or 48.6% share vs. 54.8% a year ago whereas crossovers surge 34.1% to 51.110 or 27.9% share vs. 20.5% in February 2017, 4WDs are up 19.5% to 16.549 and station wagons are down 11.1% to 11.442.

Imminent death? The Lancia Ypsilon falls 42% to its lowest ranking in over 5 years.

In the brands ranking, leader Fiat once again posts very disappointing results at -17% to just 17.8% share, its 5th straight year-on-year decline and 7th consecutive month below 20%. Volkswagen on the other hand is very healthy at +20% to 8.9%, the brand’s highest share since August 2014 and its largest year-on-year gain since December 2016. Ford (-1%) rounds up the podium above Peugeot (+13%) and Renault (-4%). In the remainder of the Top 10, Jeep surges 80%, Dacia soars 49% to #9 (highest ranking since last July) and Citroen is up 24%. Further down, notice Jaguar (+38%), Seat (+34%), Alfa Romeo (+19%), Skoda (+15%), Maserati (+14%) and among smaller brands DR Motor (+97%), Lamborghini (+78%) and Lada (+50%). Reversely quite a few carmakers register steep declines, the highest profile being Lancia down a harsh 42%. Sold exclusively in Italy since 2015 and with just the Ypsilon to show for a lineup (we reported on this back in May 2014), the days of this once majestic brand founded in 1906 now truly look like they are counted, with Lancia to be added to Fiat’s atrocious track record at keeping marques alive after the deaths of Autobianchi in 1995 and Innocenti in 1996 after just 6 years of Fiat ownership. In 2013 we reported on rumours of an Autobianchi revival as Fiat’s low-cost brand in Europe but this never came to fruition. Other brands hit hard in Italy in February include Infiniti (-75%), Tesla (-63%), Smart (-32%), Mahindra (-30%), Volvo (-30%), DS (-27%) and Honda (-24%).

The VW T-Roc improves its best ranking to #33 while the Golf (+22%) and Polo (+14%) shine.

Atop the Italian models ranking, the Fiat Panda endures another difficult month at -35% to 5.6% share, yet that’s still double any other nameplate in market. With the Tipo up 39% to #2 (35% for the station wagon leader in its segment), the 500 up 2% to #3 and the 500X up 8% to #4, Fiat monopolises its home Top 4 for the first time since last June and also does so YTD. The VW Golf soars 22% to #5, becoming the best-selling foreign nameplate in Italy for the 2nd time in the past 4 months (it ranked #2 in November) above the Citroen C3 (+25%) and VW Polo (+14%) all very dynamic. As detailed above, the Lancia Ypsilon is down 42% to #9, its lowest ranking since December 2012, while last month’s foreign leader the Ford Fiesta (-13%) is down to #10 and last 4 years’ foreign leader the Renault Clio (-15%) is down to #11.

The new model propels the Ford Ecosport into its very first Italian Top 20. Picture

The Dacia Duster surges 89% to #12, its highest ranking since August 2014, and ranks #2 outright in diesel sales (+159%) below the Fiat 500X, the Ford Ecosport is up 68% to a record #19, the nameplate’s first incursion inside Italy’s Top 20, the Peugeot 3008 is up 150% to #22, also a record, the Ford Kuga is up 40% to an all-time high #23 also hit in August 2017, the Nissan Micra is up 49% and the Mercedes GLA up 102%. The Citroen C3 Aircross improves its best ranking by 8 spots to #30 and the VW T-Roc by 13 to #33.

Previous month: Italy January 2018: Fiat 500X repeats at #2, Jeep Compass soars to #11

One year ago: Italy February 2017: Market up 6.2%, Suzuki Ignis breaks into Top 50

Full February 2018 Top 45 brands and Top 50 models below.

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