Still absorbing WLTP change, Italy sales fall 6%

December 5, 2018 06:01 CET

MILAN — Registrations in Italy declined 6.3 percent in November to 146,991, according to figures published by the nation’s Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport.

The Sept. 1 transition in the EU to new emission standards — known as the Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure or WLTP — still weighed on the market, according to the importer association UNRAE. In a release, UNRAE said November sales were “worse than forecast” despite a “slow recovery after the WLTP test’s introduction.”

The WLTP transition contributed to the September and October declines in registrations in many European markets. Some automakers had to register older vehicles that no longer would be compliant after Sept. 1 and, as a result, moved deliveries to July and August.

Sales of diesel cars in Italy were down 26 percent in November, according to UNRAE. Diesel’s market share was 45.1 percent in November, higher than 44 percent in October but much lower than the 56.4 percent recorded in November 2017.

Sales of gasoline cars increased 27 percent in November to a 40.7 percent market share, down from 41.7 percent in September but up from 29.9 percent in November 2017.

According to UNRAE, “the fall in diesel sales triggered an increase in CO2 emissions of new cars sold. The weighted average of the CO2 emissions rose 3.9 percent to 117 g/km in November” from the same month of 2017.

Demand by private customers was up 5.2 percent, according to market researcher Dataforce —”an encouraging signal,” said Romano Valente, general manager of UNRAE. Sales to company fleets were down 12 percent; short-term rentals declined 15 percent and long-term rentals 20 percent. Self-registrations by dealers also were down 20 percent, while those by carmakers fell 78 percent. 

Brand winners/losers

November sales by market leader Fiat Chrysler Automobiles declined 9.8 percent to a market share of 24.3 percent, up from 23.6 percent in October but down from 25.2 percent in October 2017. Fiat brand sales were down 16 percent and Alfa Romeo registrations 54 percent. Other brands bucked the trend, with Jeep sales jumping 34 percent, Lancia up 14 percent and Maserati 3.9 percent.

Among non-Italian automakers, Volkswagen brand sales were up 12 percent after declining in September and October because of the lack of supply of key models resulting from the delayed certification under WLTP standards. The brand’s top seller, the compact Golf, was back in the market top 10 with 2,987 registrations in November, up from 2,187 in October and just 670 in September.

Within the VW Group, Seat sales were up 6.6 percent, and Skoda posted a 6.3 percent rise. The premium brand Audi suffered a 15 percent decline, and Porsche sales plummeted 70 percent.

Peugeot sales rose 3.4 percent, while sister brand Citroen was down 4.7 percent; Opel registrations slipped 0.4 percent. Renault registrations fell 33 percent, while sister brand Dacia reported a 42 percent jump. Ford deliveries were down 13 percent.

Among Asian brands, Toyota bucked the negative trend with a 3 percent increase, while Nissan registrations declined 23 percent. Hyundai registrations fell 19 percent in November, and sister company Kia declined 7.6 percent.

German premium brands also suffered, with Mercedes-Benz sales down 8.4 percent and BMW 16 percent.

Through November, overall registrations in Italy were down 3.5 percent to 1.79 million units. Dataforce lowered its forecast for the entire year to 1.916 million registrations, a 2.7 percent decline from 2017. 

You can reach Andrea Malan at

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