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Italy August 2018: Renault Clio first foreigner #1, Compass on podium

The Renault Clio ends 79 consecutive months of Fiat Panda reign in Italy. Picture

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Whereas the Spanish market was wildly impacted by pre-WLTP stock-clearing, in Italy the impact is only selective, as the market is caught up in the torpor of summer. August registrations are up a relatively modest 9.3% to 92.345 units, meaning the year-to-date total is now approaching perfect equilibrium at -0.1% to 1.375.172. Fleet sales are the main culprit for the August uptick, with rental sales up a smashing 31.3% to 17.794 and 19.3% share vs. 16% but long term rentals (=fleet) up 35% to 14.045 whereas short term rentals freefall 17.5% to 1.658 and “others” are up 82.6% to 2.091. Private sales are a lot more discreet at +5.8% to 52.363 and 56.7% share vs. 58.5% in August 2017 while company sales edge up 3.2% to 22.188 and 24% vs. 25.4% a year ago. Year-to-date, the picture is quite different with private sales actually down 3.5% to 746.413 and 54.3% vs. 56.2% over the first 8 months of 2017, rental sales up 7.5% to 343.584 and 25% vs. 23.2% a year ago (short-term down 6.2% to 117.041, long-term up 12.8% to 198.097 and others up 47.5% to 28.446) and company sales are up 0.8% to 285.175.

First podium ranking for the Jeep Compass in Italy.

Going against the rest of Europe, diesel sales in Italy actually gain ground year-on-year in August at 6.2% to 51.842 units and 56.1% vs. 57.7% a year ago but drop 5.3% (pretty slim in context) to 739.045 year-to-date at 53.7% vs. 56.7% in 2017. Petrol sales are up 7.7% to 26.907 in August to 29.1% share vs. 29.6% in August 2017 and up 3.1% YTD to 455.665 and 33.1% vs. 32.1%. GPL August sales are up 25.6% to 7.627 and 8.3% share vs. 7.2% but down 0.9% YTD to 89.062 and 6.5% share, stable. Finally hybrid sales soar 38.9% to 4.122 and 4.5% in August, up 33.8% to 56.657 YTD and 4.1% vs. 3.1% a year ago. Looking at sales by segment, crossovers surge 40% to 28.326 and 30.7% vs. 23.9% in August 2017 and up 33.1% to 388.084 YTD to 28.1% share vs. 21.2% in 2017. 4×4 sales are up 30.4% to 9.567 and 10.4% vs. 8.7% and up 19.8% YTD to 130.286 and 9.5% vs. 7.9% in 2017. Geographic sales are also made available and show that the Northern regions only edge up 2.9% to 53.716 units whereas the Centre soar 18% to 21.404, the South up 25.7% to 11.389 and the Islands up 14% to 5.836.

Dacia sales gain 81% and the Sandero (+89%) breaks its ranking record at #6.

Fiat continues its descent into hell at home, posting a 9th consecutive double-digit year-on-year drop and the only decline in the Top 14 with deliveries down a further 15% to 15.5% share. This is Fiat’s lowest ever market share in Italy, only two months after lowering that “record” to 16% last June. In contrast, Renault surges 74% to 10.5% share, its highest in at least 8 years. Renault’s performance is likely to be heavily impacted by pre-WLTP stock clearing as this level is clearly outside the share margin Renault has been operating within the past decade (between 4% in March 2013 and 7.9% in June 2016). Volkswagen (+11%) and Ford (+14%) are muted while Jeep shoots up 138% to #5 and 6.2% share, two steps up on the brand’s previous all-time record hit last May at #7 and 5%. It’s harder to distinguish the pre-WLTP impact on Jeep’s August sales as the carmaker has aligned stellar natural performances lately thanks to the Compass.

Alfa Romeo sees its sales soar 67% year-on-year in August, likely a pre-WLTP push.

Same goes for Dacia up 81% to #7 and 4.9%, a new ranking and share record beating the #8 and 4.1% from July 2017, but helped by new offerings such as the Duster (+91%). Alfa Romeo’s performance on the other hand (up 67% to #11 and 3.9%), replicating July’s result, is clearly boosted by pre-WLTP stock clearances with ageing models posting disproportionate upticks: the Giulietta (+63%) and Giulia (+304%). DR Motor (+300%) thanks to the new dr4, Mahindra (+200%) thanks to the new KUV, Porsche (+146%), Mitsubishi (+101%), Ssangyong (+57%), Subaru (+43%) and Seat (+37%) – all thanks to per-WLTP promotions – go up but sadly Lancia is about to die: down 55% to just 1.4% share. 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 marque founded in 1906 are now truly counted, with Lancia about to be added to Fiat’s atrocious track record at keeping brands alive after the deaths of Autobianchi in 1995 and Innocenti in 1996 after just 6 years under Fiat ownership – are Chrysler and Dodge next?

The last time the Fiat Panda posted a lower market share at home (in December 2003), it looked like this.

There is an unexpected thunderclap atop the Italian models ranking: for the first time since records began in 1956, the best-selling model in Italy is not a Fiat. It’s the Renault Clio, up 89% to 4.8%, a score achieved through dealer self-registrations representing 24.6% of its mix at 1.083 units. This is the Clio’s highest market share in over 25 years, since the 5.6% it reached in April 1993 at a time when the Fiat Uno was still #1. During the past two decades, the Clio’s top market shares were 3.6% in August 2014 and 4.1% in March 2003. The French supermini had recently improved its Italian monthly ranking record to #2 in May and June 2018, from a previous record of #3 in April 1993, Sept 2002, Oct 2002 and March 2003. The surprise Clio win spectacularly puts an end to 79 consecutive months of Fiat Panda reign: no interruption since January 2012. In a typical “perfect storm” moment, coinciding with the Clio’s 25-year high share point the Panda (-21%) hits its lowest share in almost 15 years at 4.1%, since December 2003 when the 1980-born first generation was about to be replaced… The Panda’s highest share over the period is 10.5% in September 2015. In August, only 4% of Panda sales are dealer self-registrations (150), meaning that removing self-registrations and focusing on “real sales” would put the Panda above the Clio at 3.619 vs. 3.319.

The Ford Ecosport (+111%) hops up to a record 14th place in August.

There are more momentous performances awaiting further down the ranking: firstly the Jeep Compass (+613%) gains a further two ranks on July to break onto the Italian podium for the very first time at #3, only 3 months after the Jeep Renegade did so for the first time also last May (#3). The Fiat 500X soars 76% to #4 and remains #2 YTD for just 439 units above the Clio, the Fiat Tipo (-26%) is down one spot on last month to #5 while the Dacia Sandero (+89%) shoots up 17 ranks on July to land in 6th position, smashing its previous ranking record of #10 established in June and July 2017. The Ford Ecosport (+111%) also breaks its Italian ranking record at #14 (previous best #16 last June). Other gigantic gainers include the Alfa Romeo Giulia (+304%), Opel Karl (+140%), Alfa Romeo Stelvio (+127%), Dacia Duster (+91%), Ford Fiesta (+86%), Renault Kadjar (+84%), Alfa Romeo Giulietta (+63%), Peugeot 3008 (+62%) and VW Polo (+51%). In the bad news aisle we find the Fiat 500 (-63%) down to a lowest-ever #39.

Previous month: Italy July 2018: Jeep (+103%), Alfa Romeo (+45%) stir FCA up despite Fiat (-10%), Lancia (-19%)

One year ago: Italy August 2017: Fiat Tipo hits record share in market up 15.8%

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

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