Italy sales down 7%; diesel plunges 27 percent

November 6, 2018 06:01 CET

MILAN — Registrations in Italy declined 7.4 percent in October to 146,655, according to figures published by the nation’s Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport. October 2018 had one more  working day than the same month of 2017.

Diesel’s market share fell to 44 percent — the lowest since March 2010 — after a 27 percent sales decline last month, according to the industry association ANFIA. The diesel share was 47.9 percent in September and 55.5 percent in October 2017.

In contrast, gasoline car sales increased 23 percent in October to a 41.7 percent market share, up from 38.7 percent in September and 31.5 percent in October 2017.

New emission standards in the EU, known as the Worldwide harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure or WLTP, contributed to the September and October declines in registrations in many European markets. Some carmakers had to register older vehicles that no longer would be compliant after Sept. 1 and, as a result, pushed deliveries up in July and August.

Romano Valente, general manager of the importer association UNRAE, said the diesel share in September and October “suffered from the delays in the supply of some models under the WLTP rules. Restrictions to old diesel access to some cities also played a role in deterring customers demand.”

“I am confident that after this transition period, the market share of diesel cars can stabilize around 50 percent in 2018,” Valente said.

According to market researchers JATO Dynamics, by Oct. 8, only 57 percent of the cars sold in Europe had been homologated according to WLTP rules.

The WLTP problems also have put a brake on sales in Italy of cars powered by compressed natural gas, whose share fell to 0.8 percent last month from 1 percent in September and 2.3 percent over the first eight months of 2018.

Brand winners/losers

October sales by market leader Fiat Chrysler Automobiles declined 17 percent to a market share of 23.6 percent, up from 22.7 percent in September but down from 26.2 percent in October 2017. Fiat brand sales were down 21 percent, Alfa Romeo registrations fell 42 percent, Lancia slipped 0.4 percent, and Maserati sales were down 6.7 percent. Jeep, however, posted a 7.3 percent increase.

Among non-Italian carmakers, Volkswagen brand sales were up 5.1 percent after dropping 30 percent in September because of the lack of supply of key models resulting from the delayed certification under WLTP standards. Within the VW Group, Seat sales were down 14 percent and Porsche 67 percent, while Skoda gained 7.4 percent.

• Download PDF, above right, for Italy sales by brand for October and 10 months.

Peugeot sales were 2.5 percent lower in September, while sister brands Citroen and Opel lost 4.9 and 4.7 percent, respectively. Renault registrations fell 28 percent, with sister brand Dacia suffering a 13 percent decline. Ford deliveries were up 4.1 percent.

Among Asian brands, Toyota bucked the negative trend with a 5.3 increase, while Nissan registrations declined 11 percent. Hyundai registrations fell 19 percent in October, and sister company Kia’s were down 2.5 percent.

German premium brands also suffered, with Audi sales down 20 percent, Mercedes-Benz 10 percent and BMW 4.5 percent.

For the first nine months, overall registrations in Italy were down 3.2 percent to 1.64 million units. UNRAE forecasts at year end a 2.1 percent decline to 1.93 million.

You can reach Andrea Malan at amalan@autonews.com.

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