The Dacia Duster soars to #3 in Italy in 2019.
In what is shaping up to be a European pattern, the Italian new car market benefits from an artificial December surge – up 12.2% to 141.384 thanks to rental sales (+33.9%) – to end the year only a fraction positive at +0.1% to 1.926.535. This is Italy’s 5th year-on-year gain in the past 6 years. However as it was the case in 2017, the Italian market’s growth in 2019 is entirely artificial. The only channel in positive is indeed rental sales up 6.1% to 461.925 and 24% share vs. 22.6% in 2018. Short-term rentals gain 4.4% to 138.677 and 7.2% vs. 6.9% while long-term rental (or leases) are up 7.7% to 281.884 and 14.6% vs. 13.6% a year ago. UNRAE has an “other rentals” channel up 2% to 41.364. Private sales are almost immobile this year at -0.1% to 1.094.353 and 56.8% share vs. 56.9% in 2018 and 56.4% in 2017. This stability is actually worth noticing in a European market that generally trends towards less and less private sales (France at 42%, Germany at 38%). Business sales, the engine of growth in 2018, fall -6.1% to 370.257 and 19.2% vs. 20.5% last year.
The Panda enjoys an 8th consecutive annual win but Fiat sinks to new lows.
2019 is the year Italy (finally) fell out of love with diesel, a good two years later than the rest of the main European markets. Petrol sales gain 25.8% to 853.691 and 44.3% share vs. 35.3% in 2018 whereas diesel drops -22.2% to 770.483 and 40% vs. 51.5% last year. GPL sales are very strong, up 9.1% to 136.841 and 7.1% share vs. 6.5%, but not as strong as EVs up 110.8% to 10.566, however still accounting for only 0.5% of the Italian market over the Full Year, while hybrids shoot up 33.4% to 116.327 units and 6% share vs. 4.5% a year ago. Out of the 10 segments listed by UNRAE, only 3 gain volume in 2019: the crossover love story is far from over with sales up 15.8% to 646.230 and 33.5% share vs. 29% in 2018, multispace (passenger car variants of LCVs) up 3.1% to 26.182 and cabriolets/spider up 5.8% to 9.124. Meanwhile hatches/sedans drop -3.5% to 900.418 and 46.7% share vs. 48.5% last year, 4WDs are down -6.5% to 172.404, station wagons down -16.1% to 93.649, small MPVs implode -20.7% to 35.017 and compact MPVs sink -32.2% to 29.575.
A rather unexpected result: the Lancia Ypsilon is back up to #2.
In the brands ranking, we have witnessed the continued descent into hell of homegrown behemoth Fiat (-11.6%) down to 14.9% share for the year which is its first ever year below 15% share at home, at least since 1945 when the market was stopped. Oldest official data shows Fiat at 76.3% share in 1960, and it has been downhill ever since, but even more so this year when Fiat “broke” its lowest ever monthly share record 3 times: 14.8% in January, 13.5% in June and 13.1% in July. In addition, Fiat spent 9 months below 15% share – including the last 7 consecutive months of the year – whereas it had never fallen below that level before 2019… Volume-wise, the picture is almost as bad, Fiat diving below the 300.000 annual mark for only the 5th time in 60 years, registering its third lowest tally in that period at 285.888 after 279.279 in 2013 (21.4% share) and 281.699 in 2014 (20.7% share). Its only two additional occurrences below 300.000 in the past 60 years were 291.168 in 1960 (76.3% share) and 294.778 in 2012 (20.9% share). For comparison, the Fiat Punto alone sold more units at home (287.495) in 2001 than the entire Fiat lineup in 2019. FCA can’t even count on wonderboy Jeep (-3.6%) to even up 2019 volumes group-wise (-9.6%) and sees its share drop from 26.3% in 2018 to 23.7% this year.
The T-Roc ends its first full year in market inside the Italian Top 10.
But there aren’t just bad news brand-wise in Italy for 2019: thanks to the instant success of the T-Roc and T-Cross (see further down), Volkswagen (+8.6%) is in outstanding shape this year, cementing its 2nd position at 9.2% share and even hitting a decade-best 10.8% in October. Ford (-5.5%) and Renault (-9%) straggle above Peugeot (+1.4%), Opel (+1.3%) and Toyota (+2.4%) in a Top 6 unchanged on 2018. Citroen (+4.4%) sports the 2nd largest gain in the Top 8, up one spot to #8 but the uncontested hero of the Top 10 is Dacia (+36.4%) leaping up two ranks to #9 thanks to the fantastic career of the 2nd generation Duster. In the remainder of the Top 20, Lancia (+21%) gets a second life despite now only offering the Ypsilon, Seat (+34.4%) and Suzuki (+16.2%) excel while Smart (+43.3%) gets a spectacular end-of-year boost to get rid of its combustion models: +238.1% to #10 in November and +447.6% to #6 in December. Among brands commanding less than 1% share, Tesla (+428%), DR Motor (+152.4%), Aston Martin (+82.8%), DS (+67.4%), Lamborghini (+47.6%), Lexus (+46.5%), Mitsubishi (+31.3%), Porsche (+27.2%), Ferrari (+24.1%) and Mazda (+23.3%) stand out.
The Smart Fortwo ranked #3 in November and #2 in December.
The Fiat Panda (+11.1%) very confidently snaps an 8th consecutive annual win, improving its share from 6.5% to 7.2% while the Lancia Ypsilon (+21%) is even stronger, up two spots to reclaim the #2 position it last held in 2017. But the event of the year is the surge of the Dacia Duster (+57.9%) seemingly out of nowhere (#21 in 2018) directly to the third step of the podium, making Italy the first of the main European market to welcome the Duster on its annual podium. An interesting note is that 54% of all Duster sold in Italy this year have a GPL engine, up from just 18% in 2018, the Duster actually ousting the Fiat Panda to become the best-selling GPL model in Italy in 2019. The other success story of the Top 10 is the VW T-Roc (+67.3%) up 15 spots to #8 and managing 10 consecutive Top 10 finishes from January to October. Jeep manages to place two nameplates in the Italian Top 10 for the first time: the Renegade (#6) and Compass (#10).
The VW T-Cross is the best-selling 2019 launch, up to #3 in September.
With the Fiat 500X (-14.8%) down to #4, the 500 (-11%) down to #11, the 500L (-13.7%) down to #18 and the Tipo (-33.6%) down to #20, there are only two Fiats in the Top 10 in 2019 (the Panda and 500X) vs. 4 in 2018. The Dacia Sandero (+19.9%) misses out on a first Top 10 finish for just 230 sales at #12, the Smart Fortwo (+58.7%) has filled up on sales in both November (#3) and December (#3), its first ever appearances on the Italian podium, and the VW T-Cross (#27) tops all 2019 launches, even leaping on the podium in September. The Audi Q3 (+54.4%), Mercedes A-Class (+38.4%), Ford Ka+ (+31.4%), Opel Crossland X (+28%), Hyundai Kona (+26.8%), Renault Kadjar (+23.2%), Ford Focus (+20.6%) and Kia Picanto (+20.4%) also shine in the Top 50.
Lamborghini sales are up 47.6% thanks to the new Urus.
Looking at models ranking by engine alimentation, the Fiat Panda (+25%) easily tops the petrol charts with over 110.000 sales above the Lancia Ypsilon (+18%) and Citroen C3 (+52.2%). Jeep dominates the diesel models ranking with the Compass (-14%) and Renegade (-9.8%) taking the first two spots above the Fiat 500X (-23.2%) and Peugeot 3008 (3.5%) up 4 spots to #4. As described above, the Dacia Duster (+378.8%) spectacularly takes control of the GPL charts, toppling the Fiat Panda (+76.8%) and Lancia Ypsilon (+62.9%) with the Dacia Sandero (+58.1%) advancing to #45 and the Kia Stonic (+599.6%) up to #7. Toyota retains total control of the hybrid charts with the Yaris (-14.3%), C-HR (-15.4%), RAV4 (+38.2%) and new Corolla in the lead while the Range Rover Evoque (#5) and Lexus UX (#10) land directly inside the Top 10. Finally the Smart Fortwo (+124.7%) becomes the best-selling EV ahead of the Renault Zoe (+111.9%), Tesla Model 3 (new) and last year’s leader the Nissan Leaf (-14.2%).
Full Year 2019 Top 45 brands, Top 50 models and Top 10 models by alimentation vs. Full Year 2018 figures below.
Full December 2019 Top 45 brands and Top 50 models below.