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Italy February 2020: Ford Puma #1 hybrid in market starting to feel coronavirus sting (-8.8%)

The Ford Puma is the best-selling hybrid in Italy so far in 2020.

New car sales in Italy accelerate their fall in February to -8.8% year-on-year and 162.793 registrations, leading to a year-to-date volume now down -7.3% to 318.545. As of today March 5, over 3.000 Italians have been infected with the Coronavirus COVID-19 and 107 have died, making Italy the third most affected country in the world after China and South Korea. Without a doubt, the quarantine measures enacted over the last week of February over large parts of Northern Italy which represent 1/3 of the auto market have already had a role in the steep sales fall for the month, and indicate a collapse is about to occur as far as March and April registrations are concerned. Already, local association UNRAE is predicting a Full Year 2020 not above 1.5 million units, compared to a 1.95 million prediction only a few weeks ago. This would represent a -22% annual drop and would bring back the Italian market to its lowest level since 2013.

The absence of traffic in dealerships in Northern Italy as a result of coronavirus blockades is most evident in the February private sales figures down an abysmal -19% to 84.194 units and 51.4% share vs. 58.2% in February 2019. Company sales also dive at -12.9% to 25.816 and 15.8% share vs. 16.6%. Rental sales soften the blow with a 19.1% surge to 53.672 units and 32.8% share vs. 25.2% a year ago, with both short-term rentals (+28.8% to 23.043) and long-term leases (+18.2% to 27.624) improving by the double-digits. Year-to-date, private sales drop -16.3% to 176.314 and 55% share vs. 61.1% over the first two months of 2019, company sales fall -8.6% to 50.420 and 15.7% share vs. 16% and rental sales soar +18.9% to 93.649 and 29.2% share vs. 22.9%. Petrol sales edge down -3.2% in February to 73.513 and 44.9% and -3% YTD to 146.244 and 45.6%, diesel sales sink -29.4% in Feb to 56.889 and 34.8% share vs. 45.1% in Feb 2019 and -26.5% YTD to 109.477 and 34.2% share vs. 43.2%. The only ray of light in Italy so far this year is the good health of eco-friendly cars with hybrids up 90.6% this month to 18.026 and 11% share vs. 5.3% and up 86.8% YTD to 33.715 and 10.5% vs. 5.2% and EV sales up 900% in February to 2.530 and 734.5% YTD to 4.473.

The new hybrid variant lifts the Fiat 500 to #4 in February.

In the brands ranking, Fiat (+4.7%) tentatively confirms it has stopped the rot by recording a third consecutive month of year-on-year gains leading to a 17.1% share, its highest at home since last May. Volkswagen (+1.6%) also defies the negative market to remain in 2nd place at a strong 9.9% share, while Peugeot (-4%) and Ford (-5.8%), while down, manage to contain their fall to below the market rate and therefore both improve their market share to 6.6%. Renault (-0.1%) also outpaces the market to return inside the Top 5, and Audi (+2.9%) and Lancia (+2.3%) also sign upticks in the remainder of the Top 10 but Opel (-27.6%), Citroen (-12.2%) and Toyota (-10.2%) are struggling, for the latter in total contrast with the rest of Europe. Below, DS (+183.2%), Tesla (+166.8%), Porsche (+83.8%), Lexus (+66.8%), Mahindra (+47.2%), Skoda (+24.3%), Kia (+11.2%), Seat (+11.2%) and Lamborghini (+3.4%) sign the only additional gains in market.

Model-wise, the Fiat Panda (+14.7%), Lancia Ypsilon (+2.3%) and Renault Clio (+7.1%) reproduce the FY2019 podium, all ignoring the depressed context just as the Fiat 500 (+31.8%) surges 7 spots on January to land at #4 thanks to the arrival of a hybrid variant accounting for 45% of its January volume. The Fiat 500X (-6.8%) rounds out the Top 5 like last month but all remaining Top 10 fall, with the Jeep Renegade (-3.5%) and Peugeot 208 (-7.3%) faring best. The VW T-Cross (#10) remainder of the Top 10 scores a 5th Top 10 finish in the past 6 months and remains the most popular new launch for now but the Ford Puma (#16) is pushing strong, up 11 spots on its inaugural score in January but most strikingly leading the hybrid segment outright both in February with 1.914 sales or 71% of its January volume, distancing the Fiat 500 (1.728), Toyota C-HR (1.661), Toyota Yaris (1.531) and Suzuki Swift (932) but also YTD with 3.467 units (75% of its volume), discarding the Toyota Yaris (3.237), C-HR (2.955), Fiat 500 (2.309) and Toyota Corolla (1.891)…

Previous month: Italy January 2020: Opel Corsa at highest in 8 years, Peugeot 3008 breaks into Top 10 in market down -5.8%

One year ago: Italy February 2019: Fiat (-18%) down to 2nd lowest ever share, Lancia, Jeep, Opel strong in market down -3.2%

Full February 2020 Top 45 brands and Top 50 models below.

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