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Italy First Half 2018: Fiat and Lancia sink, Jeep doubles sales

The 500X (+16%) is the only Fiat posting a year-on-year gain in Italy so far in 2018.

* Now updated with the Top 45 brands and Top 180 models – click on title to see *

The Italian new car market is one of only a handful of European market to suffer negative growth over the First Semester of 2018 – the UK being the other notable one – with registrations down 1.4% to 1.128.037. This puts an end to a streak of 8 consecutive semesters of growth in Italy and means 2018 could mark the first year of decline since 2013. A year ago, we noted that the market growth was very unhealthy, with artificial channels such as rental sales propping up overall sales where “true” market indicators such as private sales already in negative then. The market decline then shouldn’t come as a surprise as it solidifies underlying trends that had been apparent for a while.

The Fiat Punto (-34%), Panda (-23%), Tipo (-23%), 500 (-19%) and 500L (-20%) all implode.

In 2018 the picture is very similar, with private sales faring the worst at -5.1% to 605.714 units, losing two percentage points of market share at 53.7% vs. 55.8% a year ago. Company sales are stable at -0.2% to 223.823 units and 19.8% share vs. 19.6% in 2017. Instead, rental sales once again keep the overall market from falling too brutally with deliveries up 5.8% to 298.500 and 26.5% share vs. 24.6% in 2017. One piece of good news is the “ultimate” artificial channel, short-term rentals, is actually down 7.4% to 109.865 and 9.7% share while leases soar 10.3% to 162.900 and 14.4% share. Compared to the rest of Europe, diesel sales resist fantastically well in Italy, dropping just 6.3% over the period to a still ultra-dominant 608.103 units and 53.9% share vs. 56.7% a year ago just as petrol sales gain just 1.7% to 377.700 and 33.5% share vs. 32.5%.

DR Motor sales are up 151% so far in 2018. The dr4 is a Chinese JAC S3 assembled locally. 

2018 is turning out to be an annus horribilus for market leader Fiat posting year-on-year declines each month so far and ending the First Half down an abysmal 19% to just 17.9% share vs. 21.7% over the same period in 2017, the carmaker’s lowest half-year share this decade and century. In June, Fiat fell to 16% share which could be its lowest ever. Illustrating a voluntary global trend by FCA, Jeep, the Group’s most profitable brand, storms into the H1 Top 10 all guns blazing with deliveries more than doubling on 2017 (in a declining market) at +101% to 4.3% share.

The Jeep Renegade historically leaped onto the podium in May.

Jeep broke its ranking, volume and share records all at once in May. In parallel, Lancia (-27%) is now positively dying off, diving from #10 brand a year ago to #17 now. Strikingly, Volkswagen (+16%) at #2 and Citroen (+12%) at #7 are the only two other manufacturers posting a double-digit gain in the Top 20. Peugeot (+8%), Toyota (+1%) and Audi (+1%) are the only ones in positive in the remainder of the Top 10, with Opel (-6%), Renault (-5%) and Ford (-3%) all struggling. Further down, DR Motor (+151%), Jaguar (+66%), Lada (+53%), Mahindra (+50%), Seat (+29%), Mitsubishi (+18%), Skoda (+14%), Lamborghini (+13%) and Ferrari (+12%) shine.

The Renault Clio climbs onto the Italian podium over H1.

The Fiat Panda is comfortably headed towards a 7th consecutive annual win at home, and this despite a harsh 23% freefall compared to H1 2017. But at 6% share, the Panda still sells more than double any other nameplate in the market. The Fiat 500X surges 16% to 2nd place overall and is now almost assured to smash its annual ranking record (#5) established in 2016. The Renault Clio steps up one spot to land on the podium at #3 despite dropping 13%, and here too if this ranking is held until the end of the year it will be a new record for the Clio, with its current annual best being #4 in 1992 and 2016. There next three cars are freefalling Italians: the Fiat Tipo (-23%) with station wagons (+2.2%) now accounting for 42% of its sales vs. 32% a year ago, Lancia Ypsilon (-27%) and Fiat 500 (-19%).

The Compass cracked the Top 10 in May and is propelling Jeep up 101%.

The Jeep Renegade (+15%) snapped a historical third position overall in May and is looking at its first annual Top 10 finish after ranking #13 in 2016 and #12 in 2017. Meanwhile the Jeep Compass is the most impressive performer so far in 2018,  landing at #13 and peaking at #7 in May, with the VW T-Roc (#26) and Citroen C3 Aircross (#30) the best-selling recent launches (<12 months). Other solid performers include the Alfa Romeo Stelvio (+169%), Peugeot 3008 (+58%), Opel Karl (+44%), Ford Ecosport (+42%) cracking the monthly Top 20 for the first time this year in January, March and May), Dacia Duster (+19%), VW Golf (+19%), Nissan Micra (+18%), Renault Kadjar (+13%) and VW Tiguan (+10%). Outside the Top 50, notice newcomers such as the Kia Stonic (#68), Opel Grandland X (#70), Hyundai Kona (#77), Seat Arona (#93) and Jaguar E-Pace (#97).

Previous post: Italy June 2018: Fiat skids to lowest ever share at 16%?

One year ago: Italy First Half 2017: Fiat Tipo lands in third place, teases Ypsilon for #2

Full H1 2018 Top 45 brands and Top 180 models below.

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