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Even though the pre-WLTP August surge in Italy was muted compared to other main EU markets at just +9.3%, the hangover is real: sales dive 25.5% to 125.963 in September, pulling the year-to-date volume down 2.8% to 1.501.490. Rental (-38%) and company sales (-34.5%) are the main forces pulling the market way down on a year ago, logical as these were used last month to pad sales ahead of the WLTP changeover. In the detail, rental sales drop to 20.865 and 16.6% share vs. 19.9% a year ago with short-term rentals down 66.6% to 2.537, long-term rentals (aka leases) down 36.3% to 14.655 and “others” up 20.1% to 3.684. Company sales drop to 29.678 and 23.6% share vs. 26.8% a year ago with manufacturers self-registrations down 35.5% to 23.364. In contrast private sales (-16.3%) hold better at 75.420 and 59.9% share vs. 53.3% in September 2017. The year-to-date picture is vastly different with rental sales the only island of growth at +3.2% to 364.469 and 24.3% share vs. 22.9% over the same period in 2017 while company sales drop 4% to 314.942 and a stable 21% share and private sales sink 4.8% to 822.079 and 54.8% vs. 55.9%.
After gaining ground last month potentially due to the clearing of non WLTP-compliant inventory, diesel sales see a 38.3% drop in September to 60.375 sales and 47.9% share vs. 57.9% a year ago, a freefall more akin to the situation elsewhere in Europe but unheard of here so far, pulling the year-to-date down 9% to 799.637 and 53.3% share vs. 56.8% over the same period in 2017. Petrol sales are down 6.3% in September to 48.769 and 38.7% vs. 30.8% but up 2.1% to 504.486 and 33.6% vs. 32% a year ago, making Italy the only major European market where diesel still by far outsells petrol. But there is a vast disparity at play within the country among private buyers, the main force behind the diesel decline. According to UNRAE, after 9 months private diesel sales are down a much steeper 15.8% nationally to 323.750 with the drop being a lot more severe in the country’s main cities where diesel is clearly outsold by petrol already. In Roma diesel is down 22.3% to 11.052 and 29.9% share vs. petrol up 5.5% to 16.893 and 45.7%, in Milano diesel is down 28.6% to 4.041 and 26.7% share vs. petrol up 14.6% to 8.544 and 56.4% and in Torino diesel is down 37.4% to 2.758 and 20.7% share vs. petrol up 25% to 6.771 and 50.8%. Meanwhile, national GPL sales fall 24.2% year-on-year in September to 7.374 and drop 3.1% YTD to 60.968, outsold this month by Hybrid/PHEV sales up 28.2% to 7.736, gaining 33.2% to 64.443 YTD. Electric sales remain anecdotal at +168.7% to 489 and +150.9% to 3.588 YTD.
It’s another catastrophic month at home for Fiat, which has quickly become the ugly duckling of an FCA Group now totally focused on Jeep and Ram. The carmaker implodes 43% year-on-year in September to 15% share, that’s a 10th consecutive double-digit year-on-year drop and the steepest so far, it is also Fiat’s lowest ever market share in Italy, only one month after lowering that “record” to 15.5% in August and three months after pulling it down to 16% last June. Volkswagen (-30%) also falls faster than the market but gains one spot on August to #3, taking advantage of Renault’s severe hangover (-48%) after grossly and artificially inflating its sales last month. Ford (-9%) and Peugeot (-6%) post very measured drops further down but it’s Toyota (+6%) that performs best, scoring the only year-on-year gain in the Top 13. Mercedes (-10%), Opel, Citroen and BMW (all at -15%) also beat the market in the Top 10. Other gainers below include DR Motor (+333%), Mahindra (+321%), Jaguar (+180%), Mitsubishi (+131%), Lamborghini (+67%), Ssangyong (+64%), Volvo (+39%) one of the first manufacturers to sport a WLTP-ready lineup earlier this year, Maserati (+20%), Subaru (+20%), Tesla (+15%), Kia (+12%) and Mazda (+1%).
If you expected the Italian models ranking to return to some kind of normalcy after the pre-WLTP craze, you were wrong. The Fiat Panda (-21%) rallies back to the top spot after being spectacularly toppled in August by the artificially-boosted Renault Clio – now back down to #12, signing an 80th victory in 81 months and its highest share since October 2017 at 7.8% but enduring a 10th double-digit loss in the past 11 months. Reversely, the Toyota Yaris (+9%) leaps up 10 spots on August to hit its record ranking in Italy, last hit in December 2007 and June 2003. The Yaris is the best-selling hybrid vehicle in Italy this month (77% of its mix) and year-to-date (70%) with a 44% uplift. The Lancia Ypsilon (-28%) is back up 18 ranks on last month to #3, helped by 1.053 GPL sales (30% of its mix) making it the best-seller for that type of fuel.
The VW T-Roc stuns at a new record 4th place with 2.6% share, up 17 spots on its previous ranking record established last May and doubling its previous record share! Italy is the 5th market where the T-Roc has cracked the Top 5 so far after Austria (April 2018), Switzerland (May 2018), Cyprus (July 2018) and Germany (August 2018) but the first major market where it climbed to #4, the only other one being Cyprus – still pending Germany results for September. The T-Roc is also the #1 diesel model at 2.288 sales (70% of its mix) ahead of the Nissan Qashqai (1.973), Jeep Renegade (1.941) and Peugeot 3008 (1.896). The Fiat 500 (-38%) is back up 34 ranks to #5 despite a discouraging fall, while the Ford Ecosport (+33%) gains 8 spots on last month’s ranking record to majestically break into the Italian Top 10 for the first time at #6. The Opel Karl (+124%), Peugeot 3008 (+47%), Ford Fiesta (+44%) and Kia Picanto (+38%) also impress in the Top 50 whereas the Fiat 500L (-74%), Tipo (-74%), VW Tiguan (-58%), Fiat Punto (-53%), Opel Corsa (-43%) and Renault Captur (-43%) are levelled.
Full September 2018 Top 45 brands and Top 50 models below.